The Police applied physical force against believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) siding the provocateurs from the OCU.
February 3, 2019 – Supporters of the OCU1 have initiated a conflict in front of Holy Transfiguration Church in the village of Gnezdychno (Ternopil region) disrupting the Sunday worship, reports the Information and Education Department of Ukranian Orthodox Chruch (Moscow Patriarchate). The police have applied physical force against the believers of the canonical Ukranian Orthodox Church2 siding the provocateurs. In particular, the rector of the church, Father Stephan, has significantly suffered: he was taken to the hospital with a broken finger and multiple bruises over the whole body.
According to Father Stephan, it was known about the coming provocation one day before. The rector had warned the police and the local administration. On Sunday morning representatives of the OCU has gathered near the church; the parishioners, believers of the canonical Ukranian Orthodox Church, knowing that there was going to be a seizure of the church, gathered in front of the church blocking the entrance. Also, the police and the chairmen of the local village council arrived. The chairmen failed to control the situation, as the supporters of the OCU acted aggressively against him, and left the scene of the incident. Then “the worst began” – the police interfered, siding the provocateurs.
“The police began to take matters into their own hands and attacked. The police special forces quickly arrived and began to beat us. On the video, everything is clearly visible. They beat me, pushed believers. And then some men came in a protective uniform with red and black stripes and began to scatter us all. They grabbed my head, broke my finger. After that, we called an ambulance. Medical workers recorded bruises over the whole body – head, chest, hands,” said Father Stephan, the rector of the church.
- The Information and Education Department of Ukranian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) – “Supporters of the OCU and the police beat the rector of a church of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the Gnezdichno in Ternopil (video)”
- The official website of the Ukranian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) – “TERNOPIL Supporters of the OCU and the police beat the priest of the UOC church in the village of Gnezdichno” (“ТЕРНОПІЛЬ. Прихильники ПЦУ та поліція побили настоятеля храму УПЦ в с. Гніздичне”)
- 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]
- Jan. 12, 2019 – Commentary of Archbishop Feodosiy, Chairman of the Church Court of the Kiev Diocese (Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate), about the State interference into Church Affairs.
- 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 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.