In the village of Zabolotye, Rivne region, representatives of the authorities initiate a general meeting of the village, at which they want to resolve the interfaith dispute that has developed around the church in honor of the holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian. The religious community of the UOC is outraged by this decision, since church affairs should be decided by parishioners, and not all residents, according to the UOJ.
As reported, on May 10, 2021, OCU activists, with the support of district deputies and the “Municipal Warta” from Varash, seized the UOC church in Zabolotye.
The next day, May 11, the head of the Varash territorial community Alexander Menzul arrived in the village. According to UA: Rivne, the official talked with local residents and proposed to hold a general meeting of the village in order to decide the further fate of the seized church. The meeting was announced on May 22nd.
“I did not go to this meeting, because, as my two-year experience of fighting for the church shows, such meetings do not give anything,” said the rector of St. John the Theological Church in Zabolotye, Fr. Andrey Bezdomov. “According to the church charter, the fate of the church should be decided at a meeting of the parish council, and not at a meeting of the village.”
He noted that the temple, in which he has been serving for more than one year, was also transferred to the subordination of the OCU at a meeting of the territorial community, which is a gross violation of the law. The statutes, which spell out the procedure for holding the meeting, are registered with state bodies, the rector added, which means that the state men know the algorithm of actions regarding the fate of religious buildings.
“Such a meeting is absurd! I have a video from a meeting at which they allegedly made the transition from the UOC to the OCU. So, then they collected 49 signatures for the OCU, and later found out that 223 people signed the protocol. Where is the truth? We have 1200 people living in our village, of which only 50 are Protestants, the rest are Orthodox. If you taught mathematics, then it is very easy to calculate how many UOC believers are in Zabolotye. And they were all erased, thrown out of the register as a community, ”said Father Andrei.