The Russian Orthodox Church, which includes part of Ukraine’s Orthodox believers, declared plans to sue Ukraine ministry for culture and religious issues, accusing the ministry of refusing to register the statures of churches affiliated to Moscow.
The proposed statures are a replica of the Statures existing in Russia. They are a huge discrepancy from the Ukrainian tradition when all property issues and appointment of priests are decided by a church community. The Russian version, by contrast, introduces a military hierarchy.
Andry Yurash, the head of ministry for culture department on religion says legal experts found provisions in the proposed statures which, if adopted, will change the rules of the game.
The Russian statures propose that church communities will have no say in drawing up church development plans and will actually establish the dictatorship of archbishops, the official says.
“The ROC is a classical totalitarian system. We cannot accept the Russian model to be implemented in Ukraine,” Yurash says.
Under the statures existing in Ukraine, a religious community is an independent legal entity authorized to solve all the issues of its organization.
Under the Russian church proposals, believers will be banned to change their affiliation and join the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Yurash says.
Court hearings started on Feb. 22.