Council of Churches made a statement regarding the refusal of the priest to perform the rite

Meeting of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations

All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations declared the autonomy of religious organizations and on the inadmissibility of intervention in liturgical practice.

The AUCCRO statement released July 3, and taken in connection with the message of Prosecutor’s office of Zaporozhye region on the investigation of a situation with the refusal of the UOC-MP priest to perform religious rites over the child belonging to other denominations, reports the Institute of religious freedom.

The Prosecutor’s office found in the actions of the priest the signs of criminal offense.

The Council under the provisions of articles 3 and 5 of the law of Ukraine “On freedom of conscience and religious organizations” stated that “the question of implementing or not the Commission of religious leaders, clergy, teachers, or preachers, worship services, religious rites and ceremonies regulated by the internal attitudes of their respective religions, faiths and religious organizations and may not be subject to the application of article 161 of the criminal code of Ukraine”.

In a statement, the Council also noted that in case of violation of religious figures such internal guidelines and rules, they are liable under the doctrine of the religious organization, as well as moral responsibility. Attracting in such circumstances, to criminal prosecution of religious leaders of all faiths and religious organizations in Ukraine is a violation of the principle of the autonomy of religious organizations and illegal interference in the internal practices of the denominations and religious organizations, in particular in the procedure of performing religious rites and ceremonies.

“The right to autonomy of religious organizations is guaranteed by the European Convention on human rights and reflected in numerous decisions of the European Court of human rights”, – said in a statement the Council of Churches.

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