UOC: Violations of believers’ rights result in 250 litigation procedures
Due to violations of the UOC believers’ rights, 150 lawsuits and 250 court proceedings were initiated in 2019 according to the annual report of the Church to the Synod.
On December 6, 2019, during the final meeting of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the UOC Chancellor, Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary, presented a report on the life of the Church over the past year, which cites data on numerous cases of discrimination against believers.
The report stated: “Over the year, the UOC communities have suffered from illegal re-registrations. The chairmen of the regional state administrations issued more than 200 instructions on the re-registration of the UOC communities in favor of the “UOC-KP” or “OCU”.
It should be noted that orders are issued only on the basis of appeals of territorial communities. However, the body which is authorized to register the statutory documents does not comply with the legislative requirements for the list of necessary documents for the implementation of registration actions. Nor does it take into account the legislative distinction between the concepts of “territorial community” and “religious community”. In this regard, in order to establish justice and protect the violated rights, the religious communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are forced to file lawsuits with local courts.”
The document also draws attention to the fact that "in many regions of Ukraine, such an illegal registration became the reason for raider seizures of church property, which was often accompanied by beating and bloodshed."
“More than 250 criminal proceedings have been opened on the facts of the offences committed, as well as in connection with the obstruction of the church services, illegal penetration and desecration of shrines. A part of the offences according to the statements of the injured laity and the clergy of the UOC were entered into the register through court decisions, since law enforcement officers did not always see violations of the rights of citizens or religious communities during the seizure of churches,” the report says.
As reported by the UOJ, on December 6, 2019, at the residence of the UOC Primate in the Holy Dormition Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the last meeting of the Holy Synod took place this year. At the final meeting of the Holy Synod of UOC, current issues of the life of the Church and the situation in world Orthodoxy were discussed.