Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The journalist Yuliya Voinova reported that members of the “Svoboda“ party forcibly occupied an Orthodox church in the village of Strizhavka in the Vinnytsia region. This was reported by Yuliya Voinova on Facebook.
“Occupation of the Temple. The ‘Svoboda’ party occupied the temple in the village of Strizhavka in the Vinnytsia region. Father Igor asks for prayful help”wrote Yuliya Voinova
According to some leaders of the village councils of the Bershad district of the Vinnytsia region, on December 22nd 2018 they received calls from the deputy of the Bershad regional state administration Mr Olshevsky V.E. with the demand to actively put pressure on rural priests of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, to organise provocations near temples, and to incite residents of the village into switching from Ukrainian Orthodox Church [Moscow Patriarchate – ed] to the schismatic OCU. Metropolitan Ioanafan of Tulchyn and Bratslav reported this, according to the Information- Educational Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [Moscow Patriarchate – ed].
At the same time, Olshevsky V.E. assured that if the chairman of the village council manages to convince the local priest to switch to the OUC, then the Bershad regional government will be assisted in the “organised delivery” of so-called “parishioners” from the outside for participation in false villager “parish” meetings.
Metropolitan Ioanafan also pays attention to that fact that at the last Bershad city council meeting (21.12.2018) deputies from the “Svoboda” and “Fatherland” parties (Maksimchuk, Kozoriz, Tarkovsky) made aggressive illegal calls to occupy the temple in the district center of Bershad on Sunday, December 23rd 2018, during a church service.
“The clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church considers that the aforementioned illegal ‘measures’ of officials – and it’s not excluded that this applies to the aggressive intentions of radicals too – got the green light from the leading state officials of the city of Vinnytsia.
Priests and believers of the Tulchyn diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [Moscow Patriarchate – ed] say that they will defend the temples against the illegal acts of officials and radical deputies in the Vinnytsia region of Ukraine”it is reported on the bishop’s website
It is also noted that earlier, on December 21st 2018, the clergy of the Tulchyn diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [Moscow Patriarchate – ed] at a general meeting unanimously supported the Appeal of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [Moscow Patriarchate – ed], in which the so-called “Autocephalous” OCU is called a schismatic “church”.
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