Elections 2015: over 30 priests are standing for elections in Lviv

16 October 2015, 10:58 | Religion and policy | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

Lviv clergymen and faithful are actively involved in the race. Over 30 priests, mostly orthodox, have decided to participate in this year's elections to local government bodies. If they are supported by the voters, the most district councils in the region, Lviv City Hall and a number of cities will get deputies and administrators in the holy orders.

The biggest number of candidates is in Lviv-Sokal Diocese of the UOC-KP, according to RISU calculations This diocese, which has 347 priests, delegated 22 representatives to fight for a deputy mandate. We can assume that there are much more candidates. The published electoral lists of political parties do not always indicate the religious affiliation of a clerical candidate. RISU, for example, has been unable to determine which belongs to what church Fr. Petro Ushkalo belongs, who is standing as a candidate to Lviv City Council from the Party of ordinary people. Similarly, the identification of religious affiliation of Fr.Ivan Fedak, who in case of victory will represent NRU, his voters and his denomination in Starosambirskyy district council. After all, one cannot exclude that the ‘unaffiliated’ fathers have no relation to the UOC-KP, as the deputy mandate is sought for not only by the Kyiv Patriarchate.

Following the UOC-KP, representatives of the UAOC also eagerly joined political struggle. Their claims, unlike those of the Kyiv Patriarchate are much more modest - only 8 fathers.

Only two UGCC priests decided to try their luck in elections, which is prohibited by the church law.

They are Fr.Petro Zelenyy from “Volya” party, standing as a candidate to the district council, and Myroslav Shevchuk from "Fatherland" party standing for Yavoriv district council and Drohobych district council.

It is likely that the church leadership of the UGCC will soon adequately respond to the situation.

Another confession, UOC (MP), which in previous times in Kyiv in the east of the state, willingly delegated its representatives to the elections (including bishops) and openly supported some political parties - in 2015 it abstained from participating in local race in Lviv.

Along with the clergymen, laymen from the church circles - parish lawyers, representatives of religious organizations- also demonstrated their political ambitions.

It should be noted that priests who decided to stand in elections, are present on the lists of nearly all parties, which may indicate a broad spectrum of political preferences of Lviv Orthodox priesthood - from the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists to "Our Land", represented along with the former Regions and activists by SDPU (united).

By the way, already four priests of the UOC KP - Pavlo Chaban, Oleg Hrytsyniak, Roman and Volodymyr Yermakov are standing as candidates to Lviv City Council, the latter of them once actively persuaded voters to vote for this political force.

Another five KP priests are standing from this party to the district councils - Fr Andriy Korchak to Brodydistrict council, Yaroslav Stasiuk to Peremyshlyany district council, Vasyl Mykhailyshyn to Sokal district council, Volodymyr Masiuk to Yavoriv and Mykhailo Halabud to Mostyska district councils.

One representative – Fr Vasyl Prots, rector of the Holy Trinity Church UOC-KP in Zolochiv stands from "Our Land" to the regional council.

Two priests are running from the same political party- Taras Tymchyshyn to Zhovkva district council and Yaroslav Yavorsky - to Yavoriv.

Second place in the rating of clergymen’s presence on the party list belongs to "Fatherland" party. It delegates five fathers to local councils.

3 priests are standing as candidates from Solidarity.

The People's Movement of Ukraine, Oleg Liashko Radical Party, Civil Position, the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Christian Democratic Union nominated two clergymen each.

One of their lists included Ukrainian Galician party "Svoboda" and "People's Control".

The presence of clergymen in the party lists is not a new phenomenon. They explain differently their desire to get a deputy's badge, basically saying they have a dream: to stop deception in politics, corruption, make it more moral ... More sincere fathers admit that it is easier to get land, building permit having a mandate. Given the high rating of trust to the Church among the electorate, politicians are willing to place priests on their lists.

However, according to experts, the clergymen’s race for local government is not beneficial either for the Church or society. Those fathers who can infuse fresh moral force are not deputies. One can protect a parish in many other ways.

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