Vinnitsa, Ukraine, February 6, 2019
The Vinnitsa court of appeals granted the appeal of representatives of the Kiev Metropolia of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church yesterday, which was the defendant in the civil suit brought by former Metropolitan Simeon Shostatsky, who sued the Church to be reinstated as the ruling hierarch of the Vinnitsa Diocese despite having abandoned the Church and joined the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” at the “unification council” on December 15.
In particular, in his suit the former hierarch entreated the court to cancel His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry’s decree from December 17 by which he was released from the administration of the Vinnitsa Diocese and prohibited from serving as clergy. He also asked to be restored as the ruling bishop of the diocese and to be again appointed as the managing director of the diocese. He also sent a parallel request to forbid his replacement, His Eminence Archbishop Barsanuphius, to be forbidden from registering as the ruling hierarch and from taking up his duties.
The decision of the Vinnitsa city court in favor of Shostatsky on December 28 was overturned and the appellate court refused to satisfy the plaintiff’s claim, reports the press service of the Vinnitsa Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
“We will report on the motivation for the decision later once we have the full text of the decision,” the Vinnitsa court press service reported.
Thus, the Vinnitsa court removed the ban on Abp. Barsanuphius of Vinnitsa and Bar registering with the state as the administrator of the Vinnitsa Diocese.
The diocese welcomes the just decision of the court which restored the legality of its archbishop.
The hearing had been previously scheduled for January 30, though it was canceled due to the judge’s health. However, former parishioners of the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral, seized by Shostatsky, and other Ukrainian faithful had prayerfully gathered outside the court that day.
“We understand that God is not in power, but in truth And we believe, we hope, that the Lord will hear our prayers today and bless that a just decision would be made,” Vladyka Barsanuphius said to the gathered faithful.
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