Ukraine: Court rejects Ministry of Culture’s appeal to forcibly rename Ukrainian Church

The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church won another legal victory on 22 July, as the Sixth Kiev Administrative Court of Appeals dismissed the Ministry of Culture’s appeal in the case of the forced renaming of the Church. Thus, the District Administrative Court’s earlier decision stopping the process of forced renaming remains in force, reports the YouTube channel First Cossack. However, the Ministry of Culture continues to look for workarounds and to do everything possible to forcibly rename the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the “Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine,” forcing the UOC to continue to defend its constitutional rights in court, the channel reports.

The appeal court’s final decision read: “The court decided to leave the appeal of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine without satisfaction, and to leave the decision of the district administrative court of the city of Kiev unchanged.” “The court of appeal refused the Ministry of Culture and upheld the decision of the district court, which prohibited the state registration authorities from carrying out any registration actions and records regarding the UOC, including making new entries in the Unified State Registry,” reads the report of the Ukrainian Church’s legal department.

On December 20, the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada passed bill No. 5309, obliging any religious organization centered in Russia, which Ukraine officially deems an “aggressor country,” to indicate as such in its name, including, in the Parliament’s opinion, the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The bill was signed into law two days later by President Petro Poroshenko. With the authorities assuming the canonical Church would be forced to rename itself, the schismatic church entered the state registry in late January with the same legal name.

The Church announced that it would appeal the law, on the basis that, although it is an autonomous body within the Russian Orthodox Church, its legally-recognized administrative center is, in fact, in Kiev. The District Administrative Court of Kiev opened proceedings in the Church’s appeal on March 23. On April 22, the court put a halt to the forced renaming of the Church. In response, the Ministry of Culture filed the appeal that was dismissed on 22 July. The deadline for legal renaming was initially set for April 26, Great and Holy Friday. (Quelle:, 24. Juli 2019)