Law on renaming Ukrainian Orthodox Church still in effect despite court ruling
Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada Chairman Andriy Parubiy has described a ruling by the Kyiv Administrative District Court which puts on hold the renaming of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) as absurd and insisted that the relevant law remain valid.
"The district court's ruling today is indeed absurd," Parubiy said on a TV program.
"I stress that the law has not been invalidated; it remains valid," he said.
The Kyiv Administrative District Court ruled earlier to grant a motion by the Kyiv Metropolitanate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) on invalidating a directive by the Ukrainian Culture Ministry obliging the Kyiv Metropolitanate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) to adjust its name.
Legislation passed by the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada on December 20, 2018 and signed by President Petro Poroshenko on December 22, 2018 obliges the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) to indicate its affiliation with the Russian Orthodox Church in its name.
The document stipulates that a religious organization that is part of another religious organization whose center is located in a state that has committed military aggression against Ukraine and temporarily occupied its territory must indicate its affiliation with this center in its name. The statutory name of this religious organization would have to indicate the full name of the organization of which it is part and whose center is located outside of Ukraine. This statutory name may include the words "in Ukraine."
According to the law, if the Church with the center in Russia fails to submit amendments to its statute concerning its renaming to the relevant agency for re-registration within four months, its statute will become invalid in this respect.
The Ukrainian Culture Ministry has carried out a theological review and publicized a list of religious organizations obliged to amend their names and statutes, among them the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate). The ministry pointed out that these organizations have three months to amend their statutes regarding their names and submit these amendments to the relevant agency for re-registration. It warned that, if these organizations fail to comply with the legislation, courts could rule to terminate their operations.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) has argued that it is not subject to the legislation obliging religious organizations to mention a religious center located in the aggressor country in their name as its administrative center is in Kyiv rather than in Moscow and its connection with Moscow is solely spiritual.