OCU activist with the police beat up a UOC parishioner in Transcarpathia

August 10, 2020. A 68-year-old parishioner was hit in the head when the UOC community, escorted by the police, tried to go to the chapel in the yard of the church re-registered to OCU.

On August 9, 2020, in the courtyard of the St. Elias Church in the urban-type settlement of Yasinya (Lopushanka village), Transcarpathian region, one of the activists of the schismatic structure hit a parishioner of the UOC during another OCU provocation against the community of the canonical Church. As a UOJ correspondent reports, the confrontation around the temple and the chapel, which is shared by supporters of the two communities in Lopushanka, has been going on for the second week.

A week earlier, on August 2, on Patron Saint’s Day of the church, OCU activist Yuri Prokopiuk was among those who provoked the conflict and threatened the head of the UOC community, Father Sergei Slisarenko. As the priest said, 68-year-old Vasilina V., who suffered from Prokopiuk, is a parishioner of the UOC community that has survived in the village. Even the fact that the UOC believers were escorted to the chapel by the police did not save her from being hit in the head with a fist.

The St. Elias Church in the urban-type settlement of Yasinya was re-registered to the OCU in 2019, during a wave of raider seizures in the Rakhiv district of Transcarpathia. The preferences of the Lopushanka residents were divided approximately in half, and now the OCU activists attend the church, and the UOC community, together with the rector, go to the chapel on the church territory. The situation had not been without clashes and provocations before: the entrance to the chapel was either hammered or blocked, and on Patron Saint’s Day the conflict was further aggravated. While the case on re-registration of the community is being considered by the court, initiative OCU activists have privatized all the real estate of the parish.

“On St. Elias’s Day, the OCU “bishop” in Transcarpathia Varsonofiy Rudnik arrived in Lopushanka. He brought with him a group of regional “M-studio” TV, we have already seen how they present what is happening here, Rudnik allegedly “called for reconciliation”, and once again we have to ask the media to objectively cover events and not broadcast propaganda cliches about our communities,” the spokesperson the Khust Eparchy of the UOC commented on the situation in the Yasinya Deanery.

On the patronal feast, despite the arrival of the “hierarch” and a large “support group”, several times more people from the UOC gathered near the church. About 10 priests came, twenty people took the sacrament that day. People were praying, like the whole last year, outside the walls of the temple. And the calls and promises voiced by the OCU “to let everyone into the church open to all”, a week later turned into the exact opposite of the “peace declarations”.

On August 9, the rector of the UOC, Father Sergei, came to the church early, near the entrance to the territory, there were already about five of his parishioners and about twenty supporters of the OCU with a police cordon. Given that some of those present had already threatened him with physical violence, the priest did not enter, waiting for his community, and recorded the license plates of the police officers who had arrived. When the parishioners came to the church, it turned out that about 20-25 people represented both the UOC and the OCU.

Since the priest showed the police the documents of the UOC community, whose re-registration is now being considered by the court, the police formed a cordon and escorted the rector and parishioners to the chapel. At that moment, the OCU activist, swinging, hit one of the women in the head with his fist.

“We recorded beatings in the hospital and in the police,” said the head of the UOC community.

So far, “calls for peace” from the OCU have cost minor injuries. The woman affected is a native of Lopushanka, one of those who every week hears accusations of “separatism” and “pro-Moscow position” in her address. It is still unknown whether the OCU activist, who was not afraid to attack a fellow villager over the shoulders of the police, will answer for the beating.