Ivano-Frankivsk court orders to investigate "transfer" of community to OCU

The Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ivano-Frankivsk. Photo: Wikimapia

The Ivano-Frankivsk Court of Appeal has ordered the police to launch an investigation into the unlawful re-registration of the cathedral community to the OCU.

The community of the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ (UOC) of Ivano-Frankivsk has secured through the court an investigation into a criminal offence – the illegal registration of the Ivano-Frankivsk RMA of a new edition of the statute of the religious community of the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ in the OCU. This follows from the ruling of the Ivano-Frankivsk Court of Appeal, published on August 12, 2022.

The Regional Court of Appeal ordered the investigators of the National Police of Ukraine to initiate criminal proceedings on the application of the community that belongs to the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Earlier, the parish of the Nativity of Christ applied to law enforcement agencies with a statement about the opening of criminal proceedings under Art. 161 (incitement of religious hatred), under Parts 1 and 4 of Article 358 (forgery of documents, seals, stamps and letterheads, sale or use of counterfeit documents, seals, stamps) and under Article 180 (obstruction of a religious rite) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. However, the police did not find grounds for such an investigation at the time.

In turn, the mayor of the city, Ruslan Martsinkiv, on his Facebook page announced the re-registration of the cathedral community to the OCU and wrote that he welcomed "the decision of the community to transfer from the Moscow Patriarchate to the OCU". The UOC regarded this statement as an announcement of a raider seizure of the cathedral: “That is, the head of the city does not even hide the fact that the so-called “transfer of the community” is taking place under his control”. Later, the mayor said that "we will finish the job, and the last parish of the Moscow Patriarchate in the Ivano-Frankivsk region will fall".

The believers appealed to the court with a complaint about the inaction of the police, but the city court refused to satisfy this complaint. However, the Regional Court of Appeal overturned the rulings of the city court and ordered the investigators to start a pre-trial investigation at the request of representatives of the UOC community.

“The Collegium of Judges draws attention to the fact that the pre-trial investigation body … allowed inaction, ignoring the requirements of the criminal procedural law on the obligation to consider a report of an offence,” the ruling of the regional appeal court says.

The judges of the appellate instance considered that the city court's decision was made with a substantial violation of the requirements of the criminal procedural law and was therefore subject to reversal.

The decision of the Ivano-Frankivsk Court of Appeal dated August 12, 2022, says that it comes into force from the moment of its announcement, is final and is not subject to appeal in cassation.

As reported, the UOC community of Ivano-Frankivsk asks the President to stop the mayor's arbitrariness.

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