Supreme Court denies Filaret to restore UOC-KP registration

Supreme Court of Ukraine. Photo: uzr.com.ua

Filaret-appealed decisions of “highest bodies of church power” are related to internal church issues, and the state has no right to interfere, according to the SCU.

The Supreme Court of Ukraine (SCU) recognized the liquidation of the UOC-KP as legal and ordered Filaret to pay a court fee in favor of the OCU for filing a cassation appeal in the amount of UAH 2,102. The corresponding decision in case No. 761/25084/20 of May 19, 2021 was published in the Unified State Register of Court Decisions.

The Supreme Court of Ukraine noted that the procedures on termination of the religious association of the UOC-KP on uniting into a single OCU are based on the decision of the “local council” of the UOC-KP dated December 15, 2018, “that is, the decision of the highest authority in the areas of doctrine, church administration and church court (legislative, executive, judicial) of the UOC-KP. All other decisions appealed in this case, such as the decision of the Holy Synod of the UOC (OCU), the decree of the Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine, the Primate of the OCU, shall be decisions taken in pursuance of the decision of the Local Council."

The decisions made by the statutory bodies of a religious association within their powers are exclusively the internal activities of a religious organization, and "interference of state authorities in the activities of a religious organization or religious association carried out within the framework of the law is not allowed," the Supreme Court explained.

“Consequently, the state, including the judiciary, does not have the right to interfere in the activities of the church, in particular, to modify (revise, cancel) the decisions of the highest authority in the field of doctrine, church administration and church court, that is, the legislative, executive, judicial power of the UOC (OCU – Ed.)," read the conclusions of the highest judicial body of Ukraine.

Thus, all decisions of the “highest bodies of ecclesiastic power” – the “local council” of the UOC-KP, the Synod and the head of the OCU, challenged by Filaret, refer to internal church disputes and should be decided by the church court, while “any revision of such decisions by the state through the court will testify to the interference of the latter in the activities of the church by assuming the functions of the church court, which is unacceptable, since it violates the Constitution of Ukraine and the laws of Ukraine."

Requirements to cancel registration actions in relation to the termination of the UOC-KP "in this case are derived from the requirements to invalidate the decisions of the Local Council, the Holy Synod", and therefore "such requirements cannot be the subject of independent consideration in national courts."

"The ruling of the court of the cassation instance is final and not subject to appeal," summed up the Supreme Court of Ukraine in its resolution.

Earlier, the UOJ wrote that the vicariate of the UOC-KP in the United States and Canada demanded that Zelensky restore the state registration of the liquidated Kyiv Patriarchate and threatened to appeal to the United States Congress due to religious persecution in Ukraine.

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