An Orthodox priest is accused of “desecration of the national symbols”

August 20, 2015. Archpriest Vladimir Greben, rector of the Orthodox church of Nativity of the Mother of God in the Verbichno village of the Turiysk district of the Ukraine’s Volhynia region was accused of desecration of the national symbols. Deputy of the Volhynia regional council Alexander Pirozhik (the All-Ukrainian Union “Svoboda”) appealed to the public prosecutor’s office and the Security service of the Ukraine with the request to look into the “provocation”. The priest was alleged to paint over the Ukrainian state emblem on the church gate, as reports pravoslavie.ru.

According to the priest, the life of the Orthodox community had been peaceful until several “activists” appeared. The painting over of the national emblem of the Ukraine was merely a scheduled repair of the fence round the church territory: the fencing was repainted in blue and during the works, the upper yellow-blue plank on the gate was covered with a new layer of paint. Will the law-enforcement officers see a crime in this? It remains to be seen. According to the Pro.church.ua portal, there was no image of the national emblem on the church gate.

Fr. Vladimir who has served in this village for 38 years, says that the new Church-political group of activists is closely linked with the All-Ukrainian Union “Svoboda” (“Freedom”) whose representative voiced the “sensational” request at the session of the Volhynia regional council on August 14, 2015.

Fr Vladimir explains that the reason of the accusation is the church. The church of Nativity of the Mother of God was built in 1886. It is an architectural monument and, obviously, is another target of initiators of seizures of canonical Orthodox churches.

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