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Some legal aspects of registration of religious organization in Ukraine

In Ukraine, the Constitution enshrines freedom of religion, which allows citizens to unite in religious organizations to solve various issues, conduct services and ceremonies. Such an organization shall be registered according to the procedure established by law of Ukraine. However, the procedure for registration of various religious formations and structures has its own peculiarities.

In our country, the registration and functioning of such organizations is regulated by the Laws  of Ukraine “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations” and “On State Registration of Legal Entities, Individual Entrepreneurs and Public Organizations”.

Pursuant to Article 7 of the Law of Ukraine “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations”, religious organizations are created with the purpose of satisfaction of citizens’ religious needs to profess and spread beliefs and act according to its hierarchical and institutional structure, and shall resolve personnel issues on the basis of their charter (regulations).

Domestic legislation stipulates that religious organizations may be created in the form of communities, administrations and centres, fraternities, monasteries, spiritual educational establishments, missions, as well as associations formed from the abovementioned religious organizations. Religious administrations or centres represent religious associations. The provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations” do not apply to other organizations formed on religious grounds.

In view of the aforementioned regulations, we can say that a religious organization is a voluntary association of citizens aimed at implantation of the purposes specified in Article 7 of the Law of Ukraine “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations”.

Religious organizations listed in Article 7 of this Law shall function in compliance with the charter or regulation. The developed charter (regulation) shall be adopted at religious meetings, congresses or general gatherings of citizens who decided to create an organization. The charter shall contain provisions regulating the functioning of the religious organization, including its type, religion, address, property status, etc. Since the charter of a religious organization is a very specific document, it is advisable to contact experienced lawyers for legal assistance in its development.

Pursuant to the provisions of Article 14 of the Law of Ukraine “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations”, the approved charter shall be properly registered. The registration of an organization is performed on the basis of the relevant application.

The charter of a religious community is registered by the Kyiv City and Regional State Administrations. In order to register the regulation (charter), a religious community must consist of at least ten persons who have reached the age of majority. Charters of other religious organizations shall be registered by the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine.

The decision on registration is taken within one month upon the application submission. According to the Ukrainian legislation, if the regulation or charter contradict the laws of Ukraine, the state authorities may refuse its registration.

Following the registration of the charter (regulation), the applicant shall proceed to the procedure enshrined in the Law of Ukraine “On State Registration of Legal Entities and Individual Entrepreneurs”. A religious organization is registered with the state registration service and thus becomes a legal entity.

Any amendments to the charter (regulation) of a religious organization shall be subject to appropriate registration, which is similar to the initial registration of the charter and takes the same time.

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