Ministry of Culture tries to avoid legal assessment of its actions, – Reaction of the UOC

December 18, 2017. The statement of the Legal Department on the judicial dispute with the Ministry of Culture about the non-registration of statutes of the eparchies and monasteries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was published by the Information and Education Department of the UOC.

“Instead of proving the legitimacy of their actions in court, the Ministry of Culture first sabotages the court session, and then tries to drag the judicial dispute into the political and information context, as evidenced by a number of tendentious publications in the media and stories on the central television channels of the country,” the statement said. “The questions raised by the representatives of the Ministry of Culture in the media have nothing to do with the subject of the judicial proceedings and are aimed at putting pressure on the court, spreading false information about the Church and misleading people.”

“In addition, we believe that the calls of the representatives of the Ministry of Culture for the dialogue are of a declarative nature and are meant to end the judicial dispute on formal grounds, while avoiding the consideration of the case and an objective assessment of the legitimacy of the Ministry’s actions by the court,” the Church’s lawyers emphasize.

From December 2014 to May 2015, 11 statutes were submitted to the Ministry of Culture for registration, in particular 3 of eparchial administrations and 8 – monasteries. Lawyers of the UOC emphasize that the law sets a deadline of 1-3 months for registering statutes, but despite this, the statutes were under registration until June 2016.

During this time, as the Statement said, the officials of the Ministry of Culture created the appearance of the negotiation process without taking any decision in accordance with the law. At the same time, the Ministry of Culture had to take one of two decisions: to register or refuse to register the statutes.

Numerous public statements by the Director of the Department for Religious and Ethnic Affairs of the Ministry of Culture A. V. Yurash that, for certain reasons, they “do not want to refuse the registration of statutes” confirm that the official is guided not by law but by his own desire and a selective attitude towards religious organizations, according to the Legal Department of the Church.

“Considering the foregoing, we consider the actions of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine to be unlawful and reminiscent of the traditions of state-church relations of the Soviet period that were aimed at intervening and destroying the internal structure of our Church,” concludes the UOC.

The District Administrative Court of the city of Kiev keeps hearing the case on the claim of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church against the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine regarding the non-registration of statutes of the eparchies and monasteries of the UOC. There have been four sessions held during the year, the last – on December 13, 2017.