Increase of church robbery in Ukraine
February 10, 2016. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, in the year, 150 robberies took place in Orthodox churches in Ukraine, as the website uoj reports.
Over the last two months the thieves hit almost every temple of the Odessa region.
Criminals prefer to take gold jewelry with images and the money from the donation box. Usually they don’t touch valuable icons because it is difficult to sell them without being arrested. “In the last couple of months, thieves broke into the St. Iver Monastery, where they took the decorations from the Iberian Icon of Mother of God, the Holy Dormition Cathedral, a temple in honor of all Saints on Tairovskom cemetery church which is dedicated to the Holy Great Martyr Demetrios, in the Transfiguration park the temple in honor of the Mother of God.
The last case, as reported by the police of Odessa region, occurred in Illichivsk on 26th January 2016. The thieves emptied the box for donations of the parishioners.
In the diocese they still cannot estimate the amount of damage from those robberies. At this time in all the churches of Odessa they removed the decorations of the icons.
The deputy head of the club “Orthodox Generation” at St. Elias Monastery Tamerlan Bannura said that in the monastery such cases occur almost daily. “The worshipers stealing phones from pockets or handbags. So far, the police hasn’t arrested anyone for the robberies in Odessa diocese.
The Orthodox churches are attacked by robbers in Sumy and Kiev dioceses of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate). It should be noted that the temples are not only robbed, but they are desecrated because they are worship places for God.
“In Kiev in the last two years, 14 cases of vandalism against churches was recorded. The robbery was observed in only a few of these cases. Most of this is an open blasphemy “, said the head of the Information and Education Department of the UOC Bishop Clement.
In the Kiev region, the most recent incidents concern the robbery in church of Saint Xenia of St. Petersburg and in the Assumption Cathedral in Darnitsa.