Minister Tkachenko comments on the situation with the renaming of the UOC MP
This is reported by Interfax-Ukraine.
"As far as I know, the issue is in the courts. Even if I wanted to influence the court's decision, I shouldn't do it. For me, it is especially important when we conduct a dialogue with the heads of churches to maintain the tolerant situation that has developed today," Tkachenko said at a press conference on the results of his work as a minister in Kyiv on Tuesday, answering a question about the situation with the renaming of the UOC-MP.
The minister noted that any "dramatic movements" on this issue, as well as on the issue of language, can outrage society and cause waves of support or protests from one side or another.
"Today it is important for me that the process of dialogue between churches is taking place. It is sometimes difficult, especially when it comes to the UOC, but we maintain calm and religious harmony. For me, this is more important than what can happen as a result of court decisions," Tkachenko said.
As reported, on December 20, 2018, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a law obliging the UOC-MP to indicate the affiliation with the Russian Orthodox Church in its name. On December 22, 2018, the then president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed the relevant law.
The document stipulates that a religious organization that is part of the structure of a religious organization with a center in the state that committed military aggression against Ukraine and temporarily occupied its territory must reflect in its name belonging to such a center outside the country. It will be required to fully indicate in its statutory name the name of the organization of which it is a part and whose center is located outside of Ukraine, with the permissible addition of the words "in Ukraine".
According to the law, if a church with a center in the Russian Federation does not submit amendments to the Charter on renaming for registration within four months, its charter in this part will become invalid.
The Ministry of Culture carried out a religious studies examination and published a list of religious organizations that should make changes to their name and Charter, noting among them the UOC-MP).
The UOC-MP stated that they do not fall under the law that obliges religious organizations to indicate their religious center in the name if it is located in an aggressor country. According to the position of the UOC-MP, their administrative center is located not in Moscow, but in Kyiv, and their connection with Moscow is only spiritual.
On April 22, 2019, the District Administrative Court of Kyiv granted the application of the Kyiv Metropolitanate of the UOC-MP to secure a claim in the case of canceling the order of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, according to which the Kyiv Metropolitanate of the UOC-MP should make changes to its name.
Subsequently, the Ministry of Culture filed an appeal against this court decision. But on July 22, the decision of the District Administrative Court was confirmed by the decision of the sixth Administrative Court of Appeal.
Since February 2020, the case on the constitutionality of renaming religious organizations has been under consideration by the Constitutional Court.
Elena Bogdan, head of the state service for ethnic policy and freedom of conscience, says that from the point of view of international law, the norm on naming religious organizations is ambiguous, and some lawyers consider it problematic.