A congress of representatives of the communities of the seized churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, as well as believers who oppose raiding attempts by the OCU and the UGCC, has begun in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. The meeting titled “The Faithful” was opened by Metropolitan Borispolsky Anthony (Pakanich) of the UOC. The hierarch read out the welcoming speech of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry to the congress participants, who expressed his support to the affected communities, the UOJ reports.
The head of the legal department of the UOC, Archpriest Alexander Bakhov, spoke about the statistics of the seizures of churches and methods of countering raiding. The priest said that in every such case, it is imperative to contact the police in order to record a complaint about an offense.
The rector of the parish in Olenovka, priest Alexander Gladysh, told how the seizure of their church took place, how the believers of the entire region stood under the regionalrad with the demand to return the church to the Orthodox, and the official had already re-registered. The priest said that the parishioners decided not to fight for the temple, but to act in a Christian way, to get away from the conflict and build a new temple.
Rostislav Zagranichny, the sexton of the captured Vinnytsia Cathedral of the UOC, spoke about how the seizure of the cathedral took place on December 15-16, 2018. According to Rostislav, on the day of the seizure, many strong men appeared in the cathedral, who did not pray, did not cross, but simply stood and watched in silence. They became the driving force behind the “transition” to the OCU. Rostislav also said that shortly before the betrayal, Metropolitan Simeon ordered to accept notes with the names of non-Orthodox, and on the eve of the seizure, Drabinko visited the temple with representatives of the local authorities.
Rector of the community in Katerinovka, Fr. Sergei Gladun told how the capture in Katerinovka was planned and implemented. The Kyiv Patriarchate and Right Sector acted together. During the seizure, the pressure was so powerful that the bodies of the believers broke down the fence when the Ternopil battalion fighters beat them with truncheons. Fr. Sergius claims that the main initiators of the seizure have already died, many very young.
Believers of the UOC from the village. Birds argue that the authorities do not hear the community, despite the trials won. The community asks the authorities not to interfere and to carry out court decisions. Despite the protracted conflict and difficult conditions for worship, not a single person left the UOC community.
Believers of the Zadubrovka community of the Chernivtsi-Bukovina diocese for the third year have been praying in their church. Believers say that the community in Zadubrovka has strengthened and become more friendly, despite the ongoing provocations. The community offered to help finance the construction of the OCU temple, but they refuse. During the “prayer in the street” of the OCU community, not a single Liturgy was served.