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Latvian Old Believers’ Pomor Church
(Latvijas Vestnesis 20.06.2007, n. 98, Law of 31 May 2007)
Section 1. Definitions
(1) The terms and definitions used for the purpose of this Law correspond to those used in the Religious Organisations Law unless otherwise provided by this Law. (2) For the purpose of this Law, the following terms and definitions are used : 1) Church – Latvian Old Believers’ Church with all its parishes ; 2) Priests of the Church – an ecclesiastical staff contained in the list of the Church priests ; 3) Chairman of the Church – a priest who has assumed the position and chairs the Central Council of the Church in compliance with regulations laid down in the statutes. 4) church - a building constructed or adjusted for conducting a service ; 5) Statutes – Church statues registered in the register of religious organisations and its establishments in compliance with the procedure set forth in the Law.
Section 2. Scope and purpose of the Law
(1) The purpose of the Law is to promote development of open, legal and harmonious society, as well as of cultural environment. (2) The objective of the Law is to regulate the legal relations between the State and the Church and set the common objectives of the State and the Church in the social, legal, educational and cultural area, in line with the constitutional traditions and the provision of the Section 99 of the Satversme (Constitution) of the Republic of Latvia, considering the long-standing existence and spread of the Church as a traditional religious organisation in the territory of Latvia, as well as recognising its contribution to and rich experience in the areas of society’s physical and mental health, education, culture, social support and other areas.
Section 3. Status of the Church
(1) The Church has the status of legal entity and the rights stipulated in the laws and regulations. (2) In performing its activities, the Church shall comply with the Satversme (Constitution) of the Republic of Latvia, this Law, and the Law on Protection of Cultural Monuments and other laws and regulations regulating the activities of the religious organisations, as well as the statues. (3) The full name of the Church is “Latvian Old Believers’ Pomor Church”. The rights to use the name of the Church are exclusive to the Church and its parishes and the authorities and institutions established by the Church. The names of the other religious organisations, associations, foundations and legal subjects shall clearly differ from the Church’s name. (4) The Church may claim termination of illegal use of its name and compensation for damages caused to the Church. (5) The Church decisions with regard to canonical issues may not be appealed in public institutions.
Section 4. Chairman of the Church
(1) The Chairman of the Church in accordance with the procedure set forth in the statutes represents the Church in relations with the State. (2) The Chairman of the Church, in cases and procedure as set forth in the Church statues, may issue written authorisations to other persons to act on behalf of the Church in relations with the State.
Section 5. Possessions and finances of the Church
(1) The Church may possess both movable and immovable property. (2) The disposal of immovable properties of the Church, including acquisition, alienation, mortgage and any other encumbrance by property rights shall be made possible only upon a written consent by the Head of the Church. It shall not be required if the immovable property is alienated in compliance to the Law “On Compulsory Alienation of Immovable Property for State or Public Needs”. Churches and cemeteries possessed by the Church may not be subject to compulsory alienation. (3) The mortgage of churches and ritual objects, and recovery upon creditor’s claim is prohibited.
Section 6. Management of the Church’s cemeteries and ceremonies in the cemeteries
(1) The cemeteries possessed by the Church shall be managed by the Church. The ceremonies in the cemeteries owned by the Church shall be conducted in line with the procedure set forth by the local governments.
Section 7. The rights of the Church priests to conduct the marriage service
Pursuant to the procedure set forth in the Civil Law and other laws and regulations only priests granted authorisation by the Church and included in the list of priests with the right to conduct the marriage service submitted to the Ministry of Justice are authorised to conduct the marriage service.
Section 8. Confessions secret
(1) Priests of the Church shall not be cross-examined concerning information obtained during confessions and they shall not be requested to disclose such information even when they are witnesses or a party in some court proceedings. (2) It shall be prohibited to obtain information necessary for operative measures by means of confessions. (3) No institution or official shall be permitted to recruit a priest of the Church.
Section 9. The Church and military service
(1) Every person in the National Armed Forces shall possess the right to receive services of a priest of the Church and to participate in public worships of the Church if such activities do not influence person’s capacity to fulfil his/her duties in the military service. (2) Priests of the Church shall not be subject to military service. In case of general mobilisation priests of the Church shall be involved in activities not related to use of weapons.
Section 10. Spiritual activities of chaplains of the Church
(1) Chaplains of the Church shall act in the National Armed Forces, airports, harbours, land transport stations, health care and social care institutions, and prisons and in other places where usual services of priests of the Church are not available under the Law on Religious Organisations. (2) Spiritual activities of chaplains of the Church shall be supervised by the Church.
Section 11. Relations of the Church and its employees
When forming labour relations, maintaining them or terminating employment, the Church shall possess the right to take into account person’s religious affiliation, commitment and capacity to act loyally with the teachings and beliefs of the Church, as well as moral and behavioural norms, principles and ideals of the person in relation to the religious beliefs of the Old Believers Church.
Section 12. The Church and education
(1) The Church shall have the right to educate its priests. (2) The Church shall possess the right to provide religion lessons in state or municipal educational establishments under the procedure stipulated in the relevant laws and regulations.
Section 13. List of Church priests
(1) The Church shall submit to the Ministry of Justice a list of persons who comply with the status of Church priests stipulated in Sub-section 1(2) of this Law and who are authorised to perform the activities stipulated in Sections 7 and 10, as well as information about these persons. The amount of such information, procedure and terms for their submission and updating shall be prescribed by the Cabinet of Ministers. (2) The Church shall within two weeks provide a written notice to the Ministry of Justice on any changes in the information provided under Paragraph (1) of this Section. (3) The information submitted to the Ministry shall be publicly available.
1. By 1 May 2008 the Church shall align its Statutes with this Law by incorporating the necessary amendments, approving their new wording and submitting them to the Ministry of Justice for registration under the procedure stipulated in the Law on Religious organisations. 2. The Church shall submit to the Ministry of Justice the information specified in Paragraph (1) of Section 13 by 1 June 2008. The Law shall come into force on 1 May 2008. The Law was adopted by the Saeima on 31 May 2007. (Translation : Latvian Republic State Chancellery)