Ukrainian Orthodox Church spokesman attacked by “Maidan activists”

December 6, 2017. Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich was attacked yesterday by a group of people calling themselves “Maidan activists,” the Union of Orthodox Journalists reports.

The attack came after Fr. Nikolai’s participation in a press conference with the Ukrainian Independent Information Agency (UNIAN) dedicated to the results of the recently-concluded session of the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church which met in Moscow.

Among the decisions of the Council of Bishops, was to amend the statutes of the Russian Orthodox Church to more fully reflect the self-governance of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, noting that the center of its administration is in Kiev, rather than Moscow. This moved angered non-cannonical leader “Patriarch” Philaret (Denisenko) of the so called “Kiev Patriarchate” who called it a deception.

The Council also established a commission for dialoguing with the “Kiev Patriarchate” after they received a letter from Denisenko that expressed a desire to restore Eucharistic communion. Fr. Nikolai was appointed a member of this commission. Denisenko later declared that he was interested only in receiving autocephaly for his group, rather than returning to the canonical Church.

The five young attackers, who introduced themselves as “Maidan activists,” hearkening to the wave of civil unrest and public protests that swept through Ukraine in 2013-2014, had earlier tried to force their way into the press conference, though the conference security did not permit them, to avoid possible confrontations.

Instead, they waited for Fr. Nikolai after the press conference, trying to attack him and douse him with red paint. The cups full of red paint were left behind by the “activists.”

Union of Orthodox Journalists sources reported that Sergei Dimitriev, a former priest of the canonical Ukrainian Church and current head of the social service department of the self-styled “Kiev Patriarchate,” was seen smoking and talking with the men who latter attacked the canonical priest Fr. Nikolai.

Sources also report that there were police nearby, though they did nothing to help Fr. Nikolai, but only laughed at him. The attack still failed, with most of the red paint spilling at the priest’s feet.

Photo documents from the UOJ: