The Parliament legally obliged the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church to rename itself

The Parliament legally obliged the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church to rename itself

On December 20th the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine during a regular meeting voted for scandalous draft law No. 5309 on changing the name of religious organisations, which makes amendments to the Law of Ukraine "On Freedom of Worship and Religious Organisations".

240 deputies voted for it and 1 abstained. The adopted draft law in general obliges "the churches that are a part of the structure of the religious organisation whose center is in the state that committed military aggression against Ukraine to specify such accessory in their name".

In addition, as was specified in the draft law, under the law renaming must take place within 3 months. If the renaming does not happen in 4 months, the parts of the charter of the church organisation defining its name will be annulated.

In fact the operation of this law applies to only one religious organisation in Ukraine – the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Also two more church draft laws - No. 4128 (on changing the subordination of religious communities) and No. 4511 (on the special status of religious organisations) – were included on the agenda of the sessional day.

According to the human rights activists of "Uspishna Varta", these draft laws are discriminatory against the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and violate the equality of faiths in front of the law. They can promote the application of direct pressure on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the deterioration of interfaith relations, and lead to violations of religious and civil peace in Ukraine.

From 09:30 on December 20th, near the cross outside the Verkhovna Rada, with the blessing of his Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry, believers carried out a standing prayer in support of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and against the adoption of these church laws.


As a reminder, in the context of the process of receiving autocephaly and the creation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), the president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and deputies of governmental factions repeatedly voiced hate speech towards the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, demanding that it renames itself into the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. In addition, as "Uspishna Varta" earlier reported, on the eve of the so-called "unifying sobor", during which the creation of the OCU was announced, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) carried out a number of searches at temples and at the houses of priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. A number of priests were also summoned for interrogation in the SBU. The Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church regarded such actions carried out by the state as the violent persuasion of priests to participate in the "unifying sobor" and switch to the OCU.

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