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Moldovan Cults Law
Section 1. Freedom of Conscience
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall be asserted in the spirit of tolerance and reciprocal respect and includes freedom to change one’s religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
Section 1/1. Abusive Proselyting
Abusive proselyting shall be prohibited.
Abusive proselyting means an attempt to influence one’s religious conscience by way of violence or abuse of authority.
Section 2. General Rights and Obligations
No one may be prosecuted for its religious belief or lack of any such belief.
Religious belief or lack of such belief, or the activity within a cult recognized by the State shall impede no one to acquire and exercise civil and political rights, and shall release no one from abiding by its obligations under the law.
Section 3. Freedom of Confession
No one may be forced to either practice or not a religious exercise of any cult, to either contribute or not to the costs of any cult.
Section 4. Confessional Intolerance
Confessional intolerance manifested by acts hindering the free exercise of a cult recognized by the State shall constitute a crime and shall be punishable under the law.
Section 5. Military Service
Alternative service provided for by the law shall be made available for those citizens who cannot fulfill military service for confessional reasons.
Section 6. Bachelor’s Tax
Bachelor monks and priests shall in no case be subject to a bachelor’s tax.
Section 7. Holydays
The State guarantees that the holydays recognized by it shall be days of rest and spiritual elevation.
Section 8. Secrecy of Confession
The secrecy of confession shall be protected by the law.
Section 9. Freedom of Organization and Functioning of Cults
Cults shall be free to organize themselves and may function freely under this Law.
Cults shall organize themselves in accordance with their own sets of rules, teachings, canons and traditions.
Cults shall be prohibited to include in their founding documents provisions, or carry out activities, which encroach upon the independence, sovereignty, integrity, and security of the Republic of Moldova, public order or which are related to political activities, or include other provisions, or carry out activities, which infringe the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, this Law and the current legislation.
Section 10. Principles of Organization of Cults
Cults shall be organized in accordance with their own sets of rules, teachings, canons and traditions, and shall be entitled to create associations and foundations.
Section 11. Disciplinary Bodies
Cults recognized by the State which have bodies ensuring the discipline within its staff shall deliver the regulations of such bodies to, and for approval by, the State authority for cults.
Section 12. Cemeteries
Local branches of cults recognized by the State may operate and maintain either individually or in conjunction with other cults, cemeteries for their followers.
The manner of creation, maintenance, and liquidation of cemeteries shall be provided for by the Cemeteries Regulations.
RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN STATE AND CULTS
Section 13. Cooperation
The State maintains cooperation relationships with the Traditional Orthodox Church and other cults recognized by it.
The State may, where required, enter into cooperation agreements or conventions with any recognized cult.
Section 14. Recognition of Cults
In order to be entitled to organize itself and function, cults shall deliver to the State authority for cults a declaration of organization and functioning, to which the organization and functioning charter (regulations) shall be attached, including information on the organization and administration system accompanied by the fundamental faith principles.
The declaration specified in the first paragraph of this Section 14 shall be delivered to the State authority for cults, which, within 30 working days as of its delivery, shall enter the cult in the Cults Registry.
The Cults Registry shall be maintained pursuant to the rules established by the State authority for cults.
In case of breach of the requirements provided for in the third paragraph of Section 9 of this Law, upon the application of the State authority for cults, its recognition may be avoided accompanied by a court prohibition to practice the cult within one year.
A cult may resume its activity only after it shall have complied with the final court judgment and further provided that the first and second paragraphs of this Section shall have been complied with.
Section 15. [Repealed]
Section 16. State Authority for Cults
The State Department for Cults Issues shall be appointed as State authority for cults. It shall supervise compliance of cults’ laws and shall, as a rule, deliver proposals with a view to improving and harmonizing the cults’ laws.
Section 17. Representatives’ Council
For the purposes of an effective collaboration between State and cults legally recognized in the Republic of Moldova, a Representatives’ Council for each cult shall be set up within the State Department for Cults Issues, which shall play a consultative role. Service within such Council shall not be remunerated.
Section 18. Representation
Regardless of the number of worshippers, each cult shall have an executive body, which shall represent such cult.
Section 19. Civil Status Documents
The issuance of civil status documents shall be the State’s prerogative.
The execution of these documents must precede religious blessing.
Section 20. Political Parties
There shall be prohibited to establish parties based on confessional criteria.
Section 21. Associations and Foundations
Associations and foundations which either wholly or in part pursue religious purposes, shall, to the extent of their religious character, enjoy such rights and shall bear such obligations as are provided for by the cults laws.
Section 22. Ministers; Invitations; Delegations
The leaders of the republican cults and the hierarchs, elected in accordance with such cult’s charter (regulations), and also the entire staff servicing the cult, shall be Moldovan citizens.
Foreign citizens shall be employed for religious activities, and Moldovan citizens shall be delegated outside the Republic of Moldova in each separate case with the approval of State authorities.
Section 23. Property and Interests outside the Republic of Moldova
Church property located outside the Republic of Moldova and religious interests of Moldovan citizens located outside the Republic of Moldova are subject to some international conventions.
Section 24. Legal Identity
Cults recognized by the State shall be legal persons. Branches, institutions, and companies of cults become legal persons after their registration in conformity with the Regulations on the Registration of Branches, Institutions, and Companies Created by Cults.
Section 25. Ownership
Ownership of cults shall be exercisable under the law.
Section 26. Monastery Lands
Monasteries may own or use land under the law.
Section 27. Exemptions
Religious organizations owning cult premises, and also the lands thereunder, shall be exempt from the real estate tax under the Tax Code.
Section 28. Inventory
Personal and real property of cults forming part of the national patrim the results of the inventory to the State Department for Cults Issues for the purposes of check-ups and supervisions.
Section 29. Historic and Cultural Monuments
Cult premises, objects of art and other values used by cults and recognized as historic or cultural monuments shall be maintained and used in accordance with the status of such values. The joint obligation of the State and cults with respect to the preservation, maintenance, and use of such values may be established in cooperation agreements or conventions between the State and cults.
Section 30. Sanctions
There shall be punishable by the law to destroy, obliterate or alienate historic or cultural values possessed or used by cults.
ACTIVITY OF CULTS
Section 31. Basis for Activity
The activity of cults recognized by the State shall be effected under the teachings, canons and traditions, pursuant to its charter (regulations) and the law.
Section 32. Noninterference by the State
Religious cults shall be autonomous, separated from the State and shall enjoy its support.
The State shall not interfere with the religious activity of cults.
The economic and financial activity of cults shall be under State supervision. The cult’s branches, institutions, and companies shall be subject to the tax laws.
Section 33. Freedom of Manifestations
Religious actions and ceremonies shall be carried out freely.
Public authorities shall ensure the proper conditions for religious assistance in the army, hospitals, prisons, asylums, and orphanages.
Section 34. Support
The State encourages and supports the social, moral, cultural, and charity activities of cults.
Section 35. Cult Publications and Items
Cults recognized by the State shall have the exclusive right to:
a) produce and commercialize cult items specific for such cult;
b) create media outlets for worshipers, edit and commercialize cult, theological or religious books, necessary for the practice of the cult;
c) enact fees for pilgrimage and tourist activities within cult locations;
d) organize, both within and outside the Republic of Moldova, expositions of cult items, including the right to sell displayed items.
Design and construction works of cults premises and cemeteries, including works for artistic decoration, of church wall drawing, of design, shall be carried out with the prior consultation of the local body of such cult.
NOTE. For the purposes of this Section 35 ‘cult items’ means church plates; metallic and lithographic icons; crosses; crucifixes; church furniture; daggers and medallions containing religious images specific for such cult; items with religious content and the like. Cult items also include religious calendars; postcards; flyers; albums of church art; movies; labels containing images of cult premises or church art items, except for those which form part of the national cultural patrimony; products necessary for the activity of the cult, such as: incense and candles, including decorative for weddings and baptism; special textiles and specific embroidery used in producing cult clothing and other items necessary for the purposes of practicing such cult.
Section 36. Taxable Income
Income obtained from production and editorial activity of cults shall be subject to the tax laws.
Section 38. Language of Practices
Cults shall use in their practices and activities the mother tongue of worshipers or the cult’s traditional language.
Section 39. Breach of Law
Breach of law by cult worshipers or employees does not necessarily imply the responsibility of the entire cult.
MORAL, RELIGIOUS, AND THEOLOGICAL TEACHING
Section 40. Organization and Legal Identity
Cults shall be free to organize teachings for its staff.
Theological schools of any rank shall obtain legal identity as of approval of their charters (regulations) pursuant to the Regulations on the Registration of Branches, Institutions, and Companies Created by Cults.
Section 41. Rights and Facilities
Seminarians and theological students shall enjoy all right and facilities provided for pupils and students from the State educational system.
Section 42. Graduation Documents
Diplomas and certificates issued by theological schools of any rank shall be valid only within such cult, except as provided for by cooperation agreements or conventions between State and cults.
Section 43. Optional and Facultative Education
Moral and religious education in State schools of all ranks is optional and facultative, except for cases provided for by cooperation agreements or conventions between State and cults.
ACOLYTES AND EMPLOYEES OF CULTS
Section 44. Employment
Cults’ branches, institutions, and companies may employ staff under the labor law.
Section 45. Agreement
Acolytes and employees of cults shall be retained under written agreements providing for the terms and conditions of their employment.
Section 46. Legal Status
Acolytes and employees of cults, their institutions, and companies shall have an identical legal status as that of employees of organizations, institutions, and companies in general, and labor law shall apply to them.
Section 47. Social Security
State social security of acolytes and employees of cults shall be effected as provided for organizations, institutions, and companies in general. For these purposes, the branches, institutions, and companies of cults shall contribute to the Social Security Fund under the terms and conditions provided for organizations, institutions, and companies in general.
Section 48. State Pensions
Acolytes and employees of cults, regardless of pensions paid by the cult, shall enjoy State pension under the general rules, pursuant to the Moldovan law on State Pensions.
FINAL AND TRANSITORY PROVISIONS
Section 49. Legal Remedies
Any act infringing any of the rights enshrined in this Law and exercised within the limits established by the same may be appealed against in administrative proceedings.
Any person infringing this law shall bear liability in accordance with the law.
Section 50. Terms
All cults have to deliver to the Government for approval its charter (regulations) harmonized with the provisions of this Law, within three months as of its entry into force.
Section 51. Amendments to Charter
Any amendment to the cult’s charter (regulations) shall be effected under the applicable rules, and notice thereabout shall be given to the State authority for cults.
Section 52. International Treaties
Where an international treaty to which the Republic of Moldova is a party provides for rules different from those contained in this Law, the provisions of the international treaty shall apply.
of the Republic of Moldova M. SNEGUR
Done in the City of Chisinau, March 24, 1992
Under No. 979-XII
No. 979-XII as of March 24, 1992
Published in “Monitor” No. 3/70 as of March 30, 1992
(Text of law as of September 5, 2005) Unofficial translation