Supreme Court of Ukraine for first time declares forced transition from UOC to schismatic OCU to be legal

Kiev, April 5, 2024

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The Supreme Court of Ukraine has set a new precedent by officially declaring the “transition” of a parish from the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” to be legal for the first time.

The transition of the Holy Protection Church in the village of Kalinovka, Zhytormy Province, happened according to the typical scenario: The OCU gathered people who had no relation to the parish for a vote to force it into schism, which was then registered by the authorities. Later, the church was physically seized by violent representatives of the OCU.

Meanwhile, the actual Orthodox Christians unanimously declared their loyalty to the Orthodox Church, headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, and appealed the forced transfer of their church, though their case was rejected by lower appellate courts.

The matter thus moved on to the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court, which ruled on April 3.

The lawyers representing the schismatic OCU commented that the importance of the given case “can’t be overestimated, because it will become a precedent for all other similar disputes and will give confidence in the legality of such a transition to religious communities that are still hesitant to make a decision” to leave the canonical Church.

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