Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
On January 16th in the village of Shandrovets in the Turka district of the Lvov region representatives of the local government in the presence of the police captured a local temple of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [Moscow Patriarchate – ed]. This was reported by the Information and Educational Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [Moscow Patriarchate – ed].
It is said in the statement that on January 16th aggressive-minded activists from the village headed by the chairman of the Village Council broke into the house of the abbot of the Saint John the Baptist temple, archpriest Ilya Urusky. Having broken open the doors and demanded the keys to the temple, the villagers and government employees in the presence of the police demanded that the priest leave the parish and went to the temple to cut off the locks on the doors.
As was reported by the press service of the Lvov diocese, the authorities ignored legislation. Thus, according to the abbot, archpriest Ilya Urusky, this is not the first time supporters of the OCU have invaded the room of the priest.
According to the abbot of the temple, after the meeting in the village convened by the head of the Village Council Aleksey Popel on January 13th, which the chairman of Turka regional state administration Aleksandr Labetsky attended, activists and the police came to the house of the priest and, with insults and threats, forced him to hand over the keys to the temple and “invited” him to support the village community and switch to the OCU.
Due to the incident the press service of the Lvov diocese noted that the president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko personally guaranteed every citizen’s freedom to visit whatever Church they want, and highlighted the fact that “neither the parishioners nor the abbot of the temple agree with the decision of the village community to switch to the OCU, and thus continue to remain faithful to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [Moscow Patriarchate – ed]”.
“Therefore we ask the appropriate competent authorities and media to intervene in this situation and to protect believers and the abbot of the temple of Saint John the Baptist from infringements on their freedom of religion”summed up the diocese.
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