Deputies of Ivankov village council join attempts to seize UOC temple

9 July 2019. Representatives of local authorities voted for the acquisition of communal ownership of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos Church in Ivankov.

15 deputies of the village council of the urban-type settlement Ivankov of the Kiev region voted to start the procedure for acquiring communal property rights to the UOC Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, Maxim Mogilnitsky, founder and head of the “Mogilnitsky&Partners” Law Association, which provides legal protection for the religious community, reports on Facebook.

According to Mogilnitsky, representatives of local authorities called an increase in social tension in Ivankov to be the reason for such a step.

“And besides, the UOC religious community did not provide legal documents for the temple at the request of the village council…,” added the leading partner of the Law Association.

He stressed that “an increase in social tension” is made precisely by the OCU activists who set up trusting fellow citizens against the UOC believers and try to appropriate the temples of the canonical Church.

“It is more convenient to violate the law with other people’s hands. More than once they tried to “grab” the temple in Ivankov but to no avail. So, the deputies decided to approach the issue from the other side,” the lawyer commented on the actions of representatives of local authorities.

He recalled that the deputies of the village council exceeded their mandate in this case.

“Especially since the certificate of ownership of the church was issued by the executive committee of the village council, which both deputies and officials are well aware. Why then go and demand? There are, apparently, no other problems in the settlement,” noted Mogilnitsky. “It is obvious that the village council, in this case, defends the interests of the OCU and the Kyiv Patriarchate while discriminating against believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In other words, the authorities do not lower the degree of conflict but make every effort causing it to boil and soon explode.”

In conclusion, the head of the Law Association warned that his organization would prosecute the local authorities who have exceeded the authority and report what is happening in Ivankov to international organizations for the protection of freedom of conscience and religion. He also thanked the village council members who abstained from the illegal vote.

Earlier, Mogilnitsky reported that the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos Church in Ivankov was attempted to be transferred to the UOC KP. 3 “clergymen”, who call themselves OCU “clerics”, perform services under the temple. “The service is held in turns by three so-called priests: Vasily Venglevsky, Vladimir Kovalsky and Maxim Kozachina. This trio appears to be the servants of the OCU and in every possible way is trying to drag parishioners into a new structure,” the lawyer writes. “All three are members of the Kiev Patriarchate. Each leads the parish, and some even not one. For unknown reasons, they do not lure their parishes into the OCU. They do not even change the name for some reason. It says in black and white – ‘Kiev Patriarchate’”. The same information was also confirmed by the head of the UOC KP Filaret Denisenko, whom Mogilnitsky sent a lawyer’s inquiry on this issue.