The believers were beaten, insulted and thrown out from their church into the street by the supporters of the OCU.
March 3, 2019 – The believers of the canonical Ukranian Orthodox Church1were insulted, beaten and thrown out from the Holy Transfiguration Church in Gnezdychno, Ternopol, into the street by the supporters of the OCU2, reports the Information and Education Department of the canonical Ukranian Orthodox Church.
In the morning, the representatives of the OCU used the church for their worship breaking the current church usage regiment. When the community of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) arrived to worship in their church, members of the Right Sector3 blocked the church’s doors. Thus, “there was such a situation that there were about 30 members of the UOC religious community, the entire OCU community, part of the Right Sector and the police in the church. After the shouting and turmoil, supporters of the OCU, led by the pseudo-priest Lesik, crying slogans “Muscovites4 are not to be here”, began to beat and throw out the UOC believers”, Father Stephan, the rector of the Holy Transfiguration Church, said.
One month ago, there was an agreement between two religious communities to worship at the church alternatingly: someday one community is having worship in the morning and the other in the afternoon, then the next time – vice versa. However, the agreement was halted due to the provocation initiated by the supporters of the OCU; and thus the church has been sealed and no community has been allowed to use the church. However, alternating worships on the street in front of the church has been still taking place.
- The official website of the Ukranian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) – “With screams “the Muscovites are not to be here” the believers were thrown from the church – in the village Gnezdychno, the “Right Sector” helped OCU to seize the church (+ video, updated)” (“Під крики “москалям тут не бути” викидали вірян з храму — в с. Гніздичне “Правий сектор” допоміг “ПЦУ” заволодіти храмом (+відео, оновлено)”)
- Facebook page of the Right Sector at Ternopol – the publication of 3 March 2019 about the seizure of the Holy Transfiguration Church in the village Gnezdychno and an invitation to call the Right Sector for church seizure service.
- Feb. 3, 2019 – The Police applied physical force against believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) siding the provocateurs from the OCU.
- Jan. 19, 2019 – The head of local authorities disrupted two festive Orthodox religious rites in a defiant and insulting manner.
- Jan. 15, 2019 – Metropolitan Luka addresses a request to the chairman of Novonikolaevskaya Regional State Administration to stop pressuring the priests of Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) [open letter]
- The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) is an autonomous Orthodox Church with the headquarter in Kiev, Ukraine. It is spiritually and canonically linked with the Russian Orthodox Church.
- Orthodox Church of Ukraine is a religious organization that was formed with an aid of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine and with non-canonical actions of the Constantinople Patriarchate at the end of 2018. So far, none of the canonical Orthodox Churches has recognised this organization as an Orthodox Church.
- The Right Sector is an alliance of ultra-nationalist groups set up November 2013 becoming the most radical wing of Ukraine’s Maidan protest movement. It Is infamous also for forceful church seizures and attacks on Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate).
- Muscovite is a derogatory term signifying a Russian or Russia supporter.