Poroshenko signs law to rename Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate 

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed a law which obligates the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP) to indicate in its name that it belongs to Russia, the presidential press service reports.

“People have a constitutional right to the free choice of religion. The mentioned changes to the law create better conditions to realize such a right for everyone who will decide which orthodox jurisdiction they belong to: whether the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine that has been formed, or the church that insists on maintaining its ties to and dependence on the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC),” Poroshenko said when signing the law. 

The president expressed his conviction that the choice will be easy to make “when everything is called by its own name, when there is enough evidence to make it voluntarily”. 

On December 20, Ukrainian Parliament obligated the UOC MP to change its name. Bill No. 5309, supported by 240 votes, states that a religious organization whose administrative center is in the aggressor-state must indicate this in its name. 

The law specifies that a religious organization’s inclusion within another organization is determined by its charter. The charter of the UOC MP states that it is connected to the local orthodox churches of the ROC, and that it is governed by the ordinances of the ROC assembly of 1990, when the UOC MP was created instead of the Ukrainian Exarchate of the ROC. 

The ROC charter states that the UOC MP’s administrative center is in Kyiv (this provision appeared in 2017, after the registration of the bill on renaming). However, it also states that the ordinances of the ROC assemblies are binding on the UOC MP.


  Ukraine, Poroshenko, Verkhovna Rada, Moscow Patriarchate, Russia