The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine voted for the draft law No. 5309, the law obliging religious organizations with the core in the aggressor state to claim this fact in their official names.
The law on freedom of conscience and religious organizations binds the religious organizations with their center in the aggressor state to inform about that in their full official names (adding “in Ukraine” if necessary).
The law specifies the signs the religious organization is being run from the aggressor state:
- the statute of the branch of the organization contains the data of belonging to the organization with the center in the occupant country;
- the statute of the organization in the occupant country contains the data of a branch in Ukraine and the right of their leaders to take decisions in canonical and organizational issues, binding the cells in Ukraine;
- the statute of a foreign religious union contemplates obligatory inclusion of Ukrainian cells’ leaders into a foreign organization with a deciding vote.
The law is to take effect after the official publication.
Within a month after a country was declared an aggressor state, the Ministry of Culture should check for the signs of handling from abroad. In case they found these signs, the Uryadovy Kuryer outlet shall publish a message about the renaming of the Ukrainian cell within 3 months.
The renaming process shall be performed within four months since the law came into effect and since the country has been declared an aggressor state. In case of religious communities, nine months are allowed.
In case the religious organization hadn’t been renamed over this period, the statutory provisions about the official name of the religious organization shall become inoperative.
No advantages or restrictions as for functioning of these unions are provided; the only thing mentioned is that the priests, sermoners and mentors shall not be allowed into the military bases of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, other military groups, as well as to their location.
On December 15, the Unification Assembly in Kyiv elected the head of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, Metropolitan of the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC KP) Epifaniy (Dumenko). On the same day, the archbishops adopted the charter of the new church.
Almost the entire hierarchy of former UOC of Kyiv Patriarchate, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) and two archbishops of UOC MP (Moscow Patriarchate) took part in the assembly.
The next step for the final formation of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine will be a joint service of Epifaniy with the Ecumenical Patriarch and getting the Tomos, which confirms the Autocephaly of the newly created church.
Earlier, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko announced the creation of the Ukrainian local Autocephalous Orthodox church. He said this at Sofiyska Square in Kyiv, after the Unification Assembly, 112 Ukraine TV channel reports.
"The representatives of the UOC Kyiv Patriarchate, the UAOC and a group of bishops of the UOC of the Moscow Patriarchate have just established a united church. The miracle became possible thanks to the unshakable position of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and our Mother Church of Constantinople," he noted.
At the same time, the Head of the State stressed that this was the united and independent Ukrainian Orthodox church. "This is a church without Putin. This is a church without Kirill (Russian Orthodox bishop, - 112 International). This is a church without the prayer for the Russian authorities and the Russian army that kill Ukrainians. But this is a church with Tomos and Ukraine!", he said.