According to a bill passed by the Verkhovna Rada [Supreme Council of Ukraine] and promulgated by President Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church had until April 26, Holy Friday, to rename itself and re-register as the “Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine”.
The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church took legal action against the Ministry of Culture about it. On April 5, the Kyiv District Administrative Court declared the actions of Andrei Paruby, the Verkhovna Rada Chairman, as illegal regarding the adoption of the bill.
The same Court has also suspended the Church’s forced name change process, as reported by the Court press service.
“The District Administrative Court of Kyiv has considered the defense request to cancel the order of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, under which the Kyiv Metropolis of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) and a number of religious organizations should make changes to their official names, and submit the appropriate amendments to their statutes for registration before April 26, 2019”, the statement says.
The Court granted the request of the canonical Church, taking into account that the name change could considerably complicate or make impossible the restoration of violated rights of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. According to the judges, any change in the name of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church prior to the court’s decision could lead to unjustified interference by the State in Church affairs as a legal entity.
At the same time, the Court stresses that the implement of the measures to ensure the merits of the request does not prejudge the settlement of the dispute, as they are only intended to preserve the existing situation until the completion of the case examination.
It should be noted that 265 religious organizations were involved in the trial as third parties.