Deputy Head of the ROC DECR: The issue of renaming UOC not yet closed
Apt. Nikolai Balashov: the Supreme Court forbade the Ministry of Culture to proceed with renaming the Church until the UOC’s claim against the Ministry was heard.
The decision of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, which allowed the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to retain its name, testifies to the respect of judges for the law and is positively assessed by the Russian Orthodox Church, but the issue has not yet been resolved, Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, deputy head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, told RIA Novosti.
In the court ruling which was made public in the electronic register, the Supreme Court upheld the decisions of two previous courts regarding the ban on renaming the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
“Of course, this ruling of the Supreme Court is evaluated by us positively,” said Archpriest Nikolai Balashov. “It testifies to the respect of judges to the law and the Constitution of Ukraine. However, in this case we are not talking about a final solution to the issue of the involuntary renaming of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”
The DECR deputy head emphasized that the court refused the Ministry of Culture to take unilateral actions to rename the UOC until the UOC’s lawsuit against the Ministry was heard.
“At the same time, the amendment to the law itself, providing for the compulsory renaming of religious organizations and adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on December 20, 2018, was challenged in January by a group of Verkhovna Rada deputies, who made a submission to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine on the unconstitutionality of the law adopted by the Rada. The Constitutional Court initiated legal proceedings but there has been no decision so far,” added Archpriest Nikolai.
As reported, the Minister of Culture of Ukraine Vladimir Borodiansky said that for non-compliance with the law on renaming the Church one is subject to criminal liability.