BASA Press, Dec. 17, 2002
A new draft law on cults worked out by Justice Ministry is threatening the existence of most of the religious organizations in Moldova, according to independent experts.
The document, whose copies has been released to all religious organizations across the country, requires these to renew their registration with the Justice Ministry. But this procedure is possible only if the local public authorities confirm that at least a quarter of the community are members of the respective organization and that the organization has functioned on legal grounds in the past 25 years. Failure to demonstrate any of the two clauses means the outlawing of this organization.
The problem was discussed on Monday by officials of the Bessarabian Metropolitan Church and Christian Democratic Deputy Vlad Cubreacov, special advisor of this Orthodox church. Cubreacov told journalists that the new draft law clearly favoured the Moscow-controlled Moldovan Metropolitan Church. “There is now logic. Moldova itself was founded as a state 11 years ago, so how do they expect us to demonstrate that our organization is at least 25 years old?” said the advocate for the pro-Romania church.
The State Service for Cults said it would not comment on the new draft law.
If approved and enacted, this law threatens the existence of most of the religious institutions, including the Bessarabian Metropolitan Church that Moldovan authorities legalized last summer under the Council of Europe’s pressures, the Roman-Catholic Church of Moldova that was created by Pope John Paul II in November 1993.