Constitutional Court of Ukraine rules name change for Moscow Patriarchate church as constitutional

27 December 2022, 05:40 PM
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (Photo:УПЦ МП)

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (Photo:УПЦ МП)

The Constitutional Court of Ukraine (CCU) has ruled that a law renaming the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) to the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine to be constitutional, the court stated in a press release on Dec. 27.

Then renaming law in question obliges all religious associations to reflect their affiliation with a religious organization outside Ukraine by mandatory reproducing the full name of the organization of which it is a member.

The challenge to the renaming law first arose in 2019, when that January the Ministry of Culture decided that the UOC-MP should change its name to better reflect its origin and leadership. In April, a Kyiv court granted the UOC-MP a stay on the decision, which the Ministry appealed. The appeal was declined that July, but the case was appealed again to the Constitutional Court.

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According to the court, the renaming complies with the law "On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations".

The CCU took into account the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the case of Ilyin and Others v. Ukraine in their ruling, the court said. At the time, the ECHR noted that the state's demand from a religious organization to name itself so it would be clear for the general public is a “justified limitation on its right to choose its name freely.”

The full text of the court's decision will be published online on Dec. 28.

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