The Constitutional Court has opened legal proceedings over a complaint about the discriminatory law against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

April 20, 2019 – The Information and Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), referencing the website of the Constitutional Court Of Ukraine1, reports that the Court has opened legal proceedings over a case of constitutional conformity of the Law of Ukraine “On amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations” regarding the names of religious organizations (associations) that are part of a religious organization (association), a governing center of which is located outside Ukraine in a State that is recognized by Law as having committed military aggression against Ukraine and / or temporarily occupied part of the territory of Ukraine” (Nr. 2662-VIII).

“People have the constitutional right to free choice of religion. The above-mentioned changes to the law create better conditions for the exercise of such a right for those who decide which Orthodox jurisdiction to belong to … Either to the newly created autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine, or to the church that insists on maintaining its connection and dependence on ROC,” the Head of State stressed, signing the law Nr. 2662-VIII on 22 December 2018.

“It has been forcibly tried to rename The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate – ed.) the Russian Church in Ukraine – taking into account neither the constitutional norms, the opinion of the parishioners, nor the position of the Church itself. In addition to the fact that the government does not have the constitutional right to interfere in religious issues, and, contrary to the requirements of the Regulations, the draft law was put to a second vote aiming to achieve a pre-planned result.” – comments the decision of the Court V. Navinsky, Ukrainian delegate to PACE.

“We have repeatedly stated that Law Nr. 2662-VIII of December 20, 2018. (on renaming) was not only adopted with violations, but also does not comply with the main law of the state – the Constitution of Ukraine. The state does not have the right to force the Church to change its name, even by law. We hope that the Constitutional Court of Ukraine will restore the Rule of Law, protect all religious organizations of Ukraine’s right to name and put an end to this issue.” – noted by the Chairman of the Synodal Legal Department of the UOC, Archpriest Alexander Bakhov.



  1. The Information and Education Department of the UOC – 20 April 2019, “The Constitutional court opened proceedings over a case about renaming religious organizations”
  2. The Constitutional Court of Ukraine, the Official Website – “Constitutional appeals as of April 19, 2019”
  3. President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, the Official Website – 22 December 2018, “President signed the Law on the name of the religious organization guided by the aggressor state”
  4. The representative of Ukraine to PACE, Vadim Novinsky – Facebook publication of 6 April 2019

Related Publications:

  1. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) is an autonomous Orthodox Church with the headquarters in Kiev, Ukraine. It is spiritually and canonically linked with the Russian Orthodox Church.
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