UOC: Local authorities may not carry out the renaming of communities

The head of the Legal Department of the UOC Archpriest Oleksandr bakhov.

The Ministry of culture of Ukraine instructed the local administrations to decide for themselves what religious organizations are subject to the law on renaming.

The head of the Legal Department of the UOC Archpriest Oleksandr bakhov explained the outreach Department, why the initiative of the Ministry of culture to instruct local officials on monitoring of religious organizations to be renamed is illegal.

In the letter signed by first Deputy Minister of culture of Ukraine Sergey Fomenko, which is 29 December 2018 was sent out to regional and Kyiv city state administrations, officials are encouraged to self-identify a religious organization, subject to the Law of Ukraine from 20.12.2018 year № 2662-VIII “On amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On freedom of conscience and religious organizations” regarding the names of religious organizations (associations), which are included in the structure (are part) religious organizations (enterprises), leadership (control) of which is located outside Ukraine, in the state, which, according to the Law of Ukraine, is recognized as engaged in military aggression against Ukraine and/or temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine”. Received information local state administrations shall submit to the Department for religions and nationalities of Ministry of culture until January 9, 2019.

“The Ministry of culture consciously breaks the Law, prompting this and regional public administration – requiring them to independently determine what religious organizations need to rename”, – said the head of the legal Department of the UOC.

According to him, “the definition of religious organizations to rename a given the independent discretion of officials who do not have the necessary competence in this matter”.

The lawyer stressed that in accordance with the Act, it is the “Central Executive authority that implements state policy in the sphere of religion, carries out religious expertise (associations)” (item 2 of the transitional and final provisions of the law of Ukraine № 2662-VIII).

“These actions, officials of the Ministry of culture of Ukraine exceed their authority and violate the requirements of article 35 of the Constitution, and try by administrative methods, in its sole discretion, to determine those religious organizations that, contrary to the requirements of the Law would have to change its name”, – said the Archpriest.

The head of the Legal Department of the UOC called on officials of the regional administrations not to break the Law and do not exceed the powers, “because the Law clearly defines that the Ministry of culture and not of the regional administration, to conduct religious expertise and to identify those religious organizations that fall under the scope of the Act”.

As reported by PWC, informed the Chairman of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations, the chief Rabbi of Ukraine Yaakov Dov Bleich called unconstitutional the Law requiring Ukrainian Orthodox Church to change its name, and said that he will ask the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and the Verkhovna Rada to postpone its implementation.

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