Ukrainian parliament prescribes how parishes may change affiliation


RISU, 17 January 2019


The Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada today, 17 January, adopted draft law No. 4128/D, which prescribes the procedure for changing the subordination of religious communities. Its adoption was voted for by 229 people's deputies. This is reported by Tserkvarum.


As Ukrainskaia Pravda reports, during the discussion of the document, a majority of the deputies spoke in support of the aforesaid draft of the law. Representatives of the "Opposition Bloc" fraction spoke against.


During the voting, the head of the opposition fraction, Vadim Novinsky, ran up to the Rada speaker, Andrei Paruby, demanding the removal of the draft from consideration. In response, Paruby shouted at him: "Get away from me, demon!"


The text of the law says: in order to change jurisdiction, two-thirds of the votes of those present in a general meeting with a quorum are needed.


On 16 January 2019, at a session of the Committee for Affairs of Culture and Spirituality a decision was adopted concerning confirmation of the new version of draft law No. 4128 (regarding change of subordination by religious communities). The new document received the number No. 4128/D. It proposed introducing changes into the already existing law "On freedom of conscience and religious organizations" and the law "On state registration of legal entities and natural persons, entrepreneurs, and public formations."


It indicates that for a change in subordination, it is necessary to introduce changes into the charter. For this, it is necessary to convene a meeting, in accordance with the charter of the community itself. The meeting must comply with the requirements of the charter and have a quorum. For adopting a decision about a transfer, 2/3 of the votes of members of the community, who must personally sign the decision, are sufficient.


The question of membership is left by the state to the purview of the religious communities themselves and how the members of a parish are received or excluded is not prescribed.


At the same time, a community remains the owner or user of a church building or other premises. Moreover, the draft law introduces a temporary prohibition on conducting any actions with the property of the parish. That is, during the transfer of a parish it may not sell, alienate, or pledge as collateral the immovable property of the parish.


If during the transition it turns out that there exists a part of the parish that does not agree with the transfer, it may form a new religious community, and it has the right to conclude an agreement for alternating usage of the church building.


There is also a change in the procedure of registration of religious organizations. Henceforth it is not necessary for them to go through the procedure twice—in the Ministry of Justice and in an agency for religious affairs. From now on, only a state agency for religious affairs and corresponding departments of oblast state administration will register religious organizations.


The draft law also prescribes in detail all necessary documents that must be submitted both for registration of a religious organization and in order to make corresponding changes.


Comments on the draft law were presented before the voting in the Institute of Religious Liberty. (tr by PDS, posted 20 January 2019)

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