Bakhmut, Ukraine, February 19, 2020
While problems remain, life has significantly improved for the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its clergy and faithful since Vladimir Zelensky defeated and took over for Petro Poroshenko, whose administration openly and actively persecuted the Church.
In particular, the courts have handed down a number of unbiased decisions, protecting the Church’s property from illegal seizure and re-registrations. Earlier this month, it was reported that two parishes won their relevant cases, and now the Gorlovka Diocese of the canonical Church is reporting another victory.
On February 12, the Donetsk Appeals Court in Bakhmut recognized the “transfer” of the Church of the Meeting of the Lord of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the city of Konstantinovka to the Ukrainian schismatics to be illegal.
The church was seized several years ago, on October 14, 2015, by members of the then-“Kiev Patriarchate” and became part of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” after the “unification council” in December 2018, when the KP united with the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” to form the OCU.
Soon after the seizure, the canonical diocese went to court, and litigation has continued for several years. Courts earlier recognized the seizure as illegal, which the KP appealed to the Supreme Court and lost. On October 28 last year, the Konstantinovka City District Court also declared the “transfer” illegal.
The Donetsk Appeals Court upheld the Konstantinovka Court’s decision.
The schismatics can still appeal the decision to the Kiev Supreme Court of Appeals.
The case on the forced renaming of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church opened in the Grand Chamber of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine the day before the Donetsk Court’s decision.