Kiev, March 13, 2020
The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, has won another court case against the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”
On March 11, the Northern Appellate Economic Court of Kiev handed a win to the Kamenets-Podolsk Diocese, declaring the transfer of the community of the St. Elijah Church in the village of Klimovoe to the schismatic organization under “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko to be illegal, reports the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
The ordeal had dragged for over a year. On February 2 of last year, the rector of the community, Archpriest Stephan Kovalchuk, initiated the procedure for transferring the community to the schismatics, and six days later, a general meeting was held in the village without observing the statutory regulations.
Of the 149 people present, 147 voted to transfer the community, and on March 11, documents were submitted for registration. On April 22, the Khmelnitsky Provincial Administration ordered the registration of the parish community’s statutes as part of the OCU.
However, as it was known that there were at least 800 parishioners associated with the church, of whom only 147 voted to move to the schismatic OCU, the Kamenets-Podolsk Diocese took the matter to court. The trial lasted for 6 months, during which time the faithful prayed in the church yard or in the chapel in the nearby cemetery.
On January 20 of this year, the Economic Court of Kiev declared the transfer illegal and canceled the re-registration. The supporters of the OCU appealed, but lost, with the Appellate Court upholding the previous decision on Wednesday.
The Orthodox community hopes and prays for the repentance and return of Fr. Stephan to the Church.