Church Dissent in Contemporary Ukraine: between Canon and Law


The article covers the place of canon law in the legal system of Ukraine and problems of church dissent in Ukraine. The role of canon law in Ukrainian legal system formation from Kievan Rus to Soviet period is studied. Also there is made a comparison of the role of canon law in legal system formation of other European countries. Author concludes that Ukrainian legal system had passed through two periods of significant deformation during its formation: The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth period, due to Union of Brest-Litovsk the canon law was above the law, and Soviet period, at the time the canon law as a part of legal system was almost removed. As a result, the canon law and Christian court in particular, which is obliged to enforce a law, don’t have legitimate status in contemporary Ukraine. Such state of affairs of Ukrainian legal system is at variances with European law practice, as though canon law in the majority of Eastern and Western European countries is an integral part of European law and order. The State in European Union doesn’t have any right to interfere in the internal affairs of the Church and Christian court judgment is binding and can’t be appealed by the court of general jurisdiction. Thus Church dissent removal is driven by the process of European integration of Ukraine and switching to pan-European regulations in relations between the Church and the State. Church dissent problem solving scientifically by means of inter discipline (history, philosophy, canon and general law etc.). In the context of philosophy of the law, above all hermeneutics, ontology, epistemology, axiology should be appealed. Philosophy and law approach in this case is a sense-making vector for Public and Religious peacemaking. Philosophical and moral state and law worldview (first introduced by Pamfil Yurkevich) can change the attitude of modern statesmen and ordinary people to the Church. Modern social and humanitarian scientific discourses toward the State and the Church relations implement the approach of canon law self-sufficiency, defend it from the State invasion, and proclaim the principle of autonomy of the interior life of the Church, determining canons and Christian Court judgements validity.

Authors and Affiliations

Mykola Nesprava


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  • EP ID EP331831
  • DOI 10.31733/2078-3566-2017-4-24-34
  • Views 61
  • Downloads 0

How To Cite

Mykola Nesprava (2017). Church Dissent in Contemporary Ukraine: between Canon and Law. Naukovyy Visnyk Dnipropetrovs'kogo Derzhavnogo Universytety Vnutrishnikh Sprav, 4(4), 24-34.