Parliament passes bill on church jurisdiction
On January 17, Ukraine’s Parliament passed bill No. 4128-d, which stipulates the procedure for changing the subordination of religious communities. For its adoption, 229 deputies voted YES. This is reported by Cerkvarium website.
According to the Ukrayinska Pravda, during the discussion of the document, the majority of deputies expressed their support for the draft law.
MPs of the "Opposition bloc" faction spoke against it.
During the voting, the head of the opposition faction Vadym Novinsky ran up to the Speaker of the Parliament Andriy Parubiy requesting him to withdraw the draft from review. In response, Parubiy shouted to him, "Depart from me, unclean."
The law provides that in order to change jurisdiction, up to 2/3 of the votes of those present at the general meeting in the presence of a quorum is required.
On January 16, 2019, at a meeting of the Committee on Culture and Spirituality, a decision was made to approve the new wording of Bill No. 4128 (regarding the change of subordination of religious communities). The new document will get the number 4128/D. They are invited to amend the already existing Law On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations and the Law On State Registration of Legal Entities, Individual Entrepreneurs and Public Formations.
It is indicated that changes to the charters must be made to change the subordination. To do this, a meeting shall be convened in accordance with the charter of the community. Meetings must meet the requirements of this charter and have a quorum. 2/3 votes of members of the community, who must personally undersign the decision, are enough to pass a decision on jurisdiction change.
The issue of membership is left to the discretion of the religious communities themselves and does not impose on them the manner of acceptance or expelling members of the parish.
In this case, the community remains the owner or user of the church or other premises. Moreover, the bill introduces a temporary ban on any action regarding the parish property. That is, during the jurisdiction change of the parish, it is impossible to sell, withdraw, pledge immovable assets of the parish in security.
If it turns out in the course of jurisdiction change that a part of the parish does not agree to it, they can set up a new religious community and have the right to conclude an agreement on the alternate use of the church.
The procedure for registration of religious organizations is also subject to changes. From now on, they do not need to go through this procedure twice: with the Ministry of Justice and the Religious Affairs Department. Religious organizations will now be registered only by the State Authority for Religious Matters and the relevant departments of the Oblast State Administrations.
The bill also specifies all the necessary documents, which must be filed both for registration of a religious organization and in order to make appropriate changes.
Observations to the bill were submitted prior to the vote at the Institute of Religious Freedom.