2019-02-06 14:17:00

Court sides with Ukrainian Church against defector bishop

Kiev, February 6, Interfax - 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".

The former hierarch entreated the court to cancel Metropolitan Onufry'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. Besides, he sent a request to forbid his replacement, Archbishop Varsonofiy, 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 Simeon 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.

Thus, the Vinnitsa court removed the ban on Archbishop Varsonofiy 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 Simeon, and other Ukrainian faithful had prayerfully gathered outside the court that day.