Council of Churches made a statement on priest’s refusal to perform a rite

July 5, 2018. Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations stated about the autonomy of religious structures and unacceptability of interference in liturgical practice.

The statement of the Council was published on July 3 and adopted due to the announcement of the Prosecutor’s Office in Zaporozhye of the beginning of investigation of the case on the refusal of the priest to perform a religious rite for the child who belonged to another confession, reports the Institute of Religious Freedom.

The prosecutor’s office found signs of a criminal offense in the actions of the clergyman.

The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, based on the provisions of Articles 3 and 5 of the Law of Ukraine “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations” stated that “the issue of whether or not clergymen, mentors or preachers perform religious services, religious rites and ceremonies is regulated by internal guidelines of the respective religions, faiths and religious organizations and thus cannot be subject to application of Article 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.”

The statement also notes that in case of violation of such internal guidelines and rules by religious figures, they bear the responsibility provided by the doctrine of the corresponding religious organization, as well as moral responsibility. In such circumstances, prosecution of religious figures of any faiths and religious organizations in Ukraine is a violation of the principle of the autonomy of religious organizations and the unlawful interference in the internal practice of confessions and religious organizations, in particular, in the procedure for the performance of religious ordinances and rites.

“The right to the autonomy of religious organizations is guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and is reflected in numerous decisions of the European Court of Human Rights,” the Council of Churches says in the statement.

Photo document from the UOJ



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