Ukrainian Church brings case against Ministry of Culture over renaming requirement

The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) has filed a lawsuit against the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture over the requirement to rename and reregister itself, the press service of the District Administrative Court of Kiev reported on Friday.

In December, the Ukrainian parliament passed a law that was then signed by President Petro Poroshenko whereby the canonical Ukrainian Church, and a handful of other churches, would be deprived of its rightful name and forced to reregister as the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine has set April 26, Great and Holy Friday, as the deadline for the Church to rename itself. The UOC stated at the time that it intends to appeal the law to the constitutional court of Ukraine.

“The District Administrative Court of Kiev received a claim from the Kiev Metropolis of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church against the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture to cancel the order on the approval of religious expertise to establish a list of religious organizations (associations) that fall under the provisions of part 7 and part 8 of article 12 of the Ukrainian law ‘On the freedom of conscience and religious organizations,’” the press service reports.

The court noted that the UOC requested to recognize as illegal the Ministry of Culture’s publishing on its official website and in a government newspaper a list of religious organizations required to change their name, including the UOC.

“The question of opening administrative proceedings in this case is now being resolved,” the court added.