In Volyn priest evicted from his children asks Supreme Court to review the case

June 20, 2017 – The state authorities of Horokhiv district of Volyn region plan to implement the court’s decision to resettle two children from their parents. It is related to the claim of the Kyiv Patriarchate about eviction from the village church house in Uhryniv of the couple – a priest of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) and his wife-regent together with their two children, their younger son being born after the appointment of the father to serve at this parish. The court only partially satisfied the requirement of the Kiev Patriarchate about the complete eviction of the family from the house: the juveniles were not evicted at the time of filing the lawsuit.

The scandal with the division of church property between the two rural communities has continued for almost three years. At the same time, the priest of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church was delivered an ultimatum – either he joins the Kiev Patriarchate, or he is driven away from the village – despite the fact the Kiev Patriarchate community was not even registered at that time.

After protopriest Rostislav Sapozhnik refused to change the confession, the Kyiv Patriarchate, with the support of local authorities and businesses, seized the village’s Holy Cross Exaltation Church, a church house on its territory and a new cemetery chapel. The last community’s real estate asset out of the reach for schismatics was the priest’s house, which had been built and maintained by the UOC parish, privatized by the Kyiv Patriarchate and claimed to be its own property. The family registered here, who paid all the bills and a land tax, was sued to be evicted.

In Horokhiv district court the claim was refused: after dismissal and resignation of the judges, the lawsuit was transferred to a neighboring district. On April 5, 2016, the judge of Lokachin District Court, Irina Voznyuk, announced that the claim was partially satisfied: adults, according to her decision, were evicted from the disputed house, while the children could stay further. A few months later it became known she had resigned.

On August 30, 2016, by the decision of the board of judges of Volyn Court of Appeal, the decision in the first instance was upheld. At the same time, judges were not interested in the fact that the defendants provided a refutation of false data that they allegedly had other real estate property. Nor were they interested in the information from the village council of Uhryniv, according to which the family of the priest was registered in the disputed house.

In the cassation instance, the decision was left unchanged.

The couple has nowhere t live. The community of the UOC, deprived of its temple, continues to conduct divine services in one of the rooms of this house.

The clergyman applied to the executive service with a request to postpone the execution of the decision until the Supreme Court considers a petition to review the case. So far no response has been received from the executors.

Photo document from UOJ