On the early morning of August 14, the clergy and numerous parishioners came to the Fontanka road to take part in the festive divine service. However, at the checkpoint of the military academy, servicemen did not let them in, referring to the verbal order of their superiors, reports the press service of the Odessa diocese.
At the same time, representatives of the Kiev Patriarchate were allowed to enter the academy’s territory freely through the same checkpoint.
According to the rector of the church, Protopriest Sergiy Dmitriev, on the territory of the military academy, there is a congress of military “chaplains” of the UOC KP and the UGCC, who demanded to open the temple of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on August 13 to serve the joint Divine Liturgy.
The rector of the church refused to do this, as it is against canonical rules, noting that “at the present moment of historical existence we cannot serve together”. The representatives of the Kiev Patriarchate said that they would enter the temple and hold a service there anyway.
As reported in the eparchy, this was the reason for the unprecedented measures at the checkpoint of the military academy, as a result of which believers were prevented from performing a religious rite.
“I would like to note that for 15 years there have never been any problems with access of believers and clergymen of the UOC to the territory of their church, namely today, when representatives of the so-called “Kiev Patriarchate” and the Greek Catholics gathered in our church for “worship”, our believers were not allowed to pass through the checkpoint, referring to the verbal order of the authorities and allegedly some sort of trainings,” said the priests of the eparchy.
The eparchy reminds the leadership of the Academy that in the event of a toughening of the access control regime at the site, the clergy of the UOC were to receive a 10-day note, but the rector of the church did not receive any information in this regard.
As a result of the incident, numerous believers had to consecrate their offerings outside the temple, which they themselves revived: Bishop Diodorus, the vicar of the Odessa eparchy, led the service and consecrated new honey.
The eparchy considers: “The facts of obstruction of the activities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church once again confirm that unprecedented pressure is exerted on the believers and clergy of the canonical Church, manifested in the form of the seizure of temples, provocations, threats and prohibition of services.”
Believers of Odessa ask the world community to pay attention to the systematic violation of the rights of UOC believers and oppression on religious grounds.
The Church of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Cyril and Methodius is located on the territory of the Odessa Military Academy. The work on the restoration of the former Cadet Church began in the late 1990s when the Institute of the Army was based within these walls. Regular divine services were resumed only in 2005 by the works of the rector of the church, Archpriest Sergiy Dmitriev, a former officer who had combat experience under his belt.