CWN - Having seized control of the Crimea, Russian officials have placed new restrictions on churches there, the Forum 18 news service reports.
Religious communities in Crimea are being ordered to re-register under Russian law. Priests of the Ukrainian Catholic Church who are not natives of Crimea will be allowed to serve in ministry for only three months at a time before leaving for a month and re-applying for admission. Catholics in Sebastopol, who had hoped for the return of their cathedral (which had been confiscated under Soviet rule), now doubt that the building will be returned.
The new restrictions are not targeted solely against Ukrainian Catholics. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kiev patriarchate, which challenges the dominance of Orthodox body loyal to Moscow, has found that the “rent” for its cathedral in Simferopol, the capital city of Crimea, has been dramatically raised.