Ukrainian Church wins case of illegal re-registration of parish against “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”

July 3, 2020. The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church under His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine has won another court case against “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” concerning the fate of an illegally re-registered parish.

While the OCU boasts that several hundred parishes have abandoned the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in order to join its nationalist ranks, the majority of parishes in question were either seized by force by right-wing nationalists and/or illegally re-registered by local authorities.

On June 22, the Northwestern Economic Court of Appeals of Rivne ruled in favor of the religious community of St. Andrew the First-Called of the canonical UOC in Vapnyarka in the Vinnitsa Province, which the Volyn Provincial State Administration had illegally re-registered to the schismatics last year, reports the press service of the Diocese of Mogilev and Podolsk of the UOC.

The Appeals Court thus upheld the decision of the Economic Court of the Vinnitsa Province from January 21, leaving the appeal of the Department for Nationalities and Religions of the Vinnitsa Provincial State Administration and the St. Andrew the First-Called religious community of the schismatic OCU unsatisfied.

In January, the court recognized the order of the head of the Department for Nationalities and Religions to re-register the parish to the OCU to be illegal, and recognized the illegality of the state registration that altered the information about the religious community in the Unified State Register of Enterprises and Organizations of Ukraine.

Activists of the OCU seized the church in Vapnyarka by force in March 2019, cutting off the Church locks in the presence of the police, the Union of Orthodox Journalists reported.

The church was then illegally re-registered. After the appeal of the Vinnitsa Diocese of the UOC, the investigative authorities opened criminal proceedings against the head of the Department for Nationalities and Religions for arbitrariness and removing the registration and constituent documents related to the re-registration of communities.