Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
Activists blocked the doors of the temple and believers were forced to carry out the Divine liturgy outside the walls of the church on the street in minus 5 degrees celsius. The police only observed.
On February 10th 2019 in the village of Zadubrovka in the Zastavnovsky district of the Chernovtsi region, activists of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), organised by the head of the Village Council Vitaly Goncharuk and the district authorities, did not let believers to enter their own church, reports the source of the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
Believers were forced to serve a liturgy on the street outside the walls of the temple in minus 5 degrees celsius and in front of representatives of the police, who took a neutral position.
The Abbot of the community, archpriest Leonid Delikatny, told his parishioners that the Village Council justifies the need to switch to the OCU by saying that the village of Zadubrovka is now marked on Putin’s map by a Russian flag, and should there be a transition to the OCI, Putin will be forced to replace the Russian flag with a Ukrainian one.
However, such an argument did not convince believers.
As a reminder, on January 27th, in the House of Folklore of Zadubrovka, the authorities organised an illegal village meeting (a territorial community has no right to decide the destiny of a religious community) and in the absence of believers “transferred” the community to the OCU. On February 3rd the religious community of the temple of Saint Michael the Archangel held their own lawful meeting and unanimously voted to remain faithful to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [Moscow Patriarchate – ed] and to Metropolitan Onufry.
As the Union of Orthodox Journalists reported, on January 30th 2019 the clergy and believers of the Chernovtsi diocese, headed by the Metropolitan of Chernovtsi and Bukovina Melety, carried out a religious procession along the streets of Zastavna towards the regional state administration in order to meet officials and to urge them to stop the lawlessness in relation to the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church which “the authorities cynically monitor”. On January 31st the chairman of the Zastavna regional state administration Yury Kitar promised the clergy and believers of the Chernovsti diocese to stop the exertion of pressure by the authorities and asked to report to him about violation of laws.
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