Moscow church in Ukraine denies it is a Moscow church


Interfax-Religiia, 22 March 2019


The district administrative court of Kiev received a lawsuit from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church against the country's Ministry of Culture.


As the press service of the court reports, the plaintiff requested that the publication on the official website of the Ministry of Culture and in the Uriadovyi Kurier newspaper of a list of religious organizations that are subject to the rule of the law "On freedom of conscience and religious organizations" about inserting changes into their charter and its registration be ruled to be illegal.


At the present time, the question of opening an administrative proceeding is being decided.


On 20 December 2018, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a law requiring the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UPTs) to show in its name its affiliation with the Russian Orthodox Church. On 22 December 2018, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed this law.


The document provides that a religious organization "that is a part of the structure of a religious organization that has its center in a state that has committed armed aggression against Ukraine and has temporarily occupied its territory is required to reflect in its name its affiliation with such a center outside the borders of the country." The organization is required to indicate in its charter name the name of that organization of which it is a part and whose center is located outside the borders of Ukraine, while it is permissible to add the words "in Ukraine."


If within the course of four months, a church with its center in the Russian Federation does not submit for registration the changes in its charter regarding renaming, its charter will lose legal effect in that part.


The Ministry of Culture conducted a religious studies expert analysis and published a list of religious organizations that must insert changes into their name and charter, including the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. These organizations are required to insert into their charters changes in terms of renaming and to send them for registration. If they do not comply with the requirements of the law, their activity may be terminated by decision of a court.


Meanwhile, the UPTs has declared that it is not subject to the law on renaming, inasmuch as the administrative center of this church is located, not in Moscow, but in Kiev and its tie with Russia is spiritual only. (tr. by PDS, posted 25 March 2019)

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