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Activists seize Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Zhytomyr region (photo, video)


Ukraine's Orthodox Church


Ukraine's Orthodox Church


Ukraine's Orthodox Church


Ukraine's Orthodox Church


Ukraine's Orthodox Church

The activists of “Svoboda” political party along with head of the council of Vorsivka village, Malyn District of Zhytomyr region forcefully hindered the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) to hold the divine service event on the territory of the church as the Informational and Education Department of the UOC reported.
The meeting of the village on January 11 preceded this incident. The aggressive followers of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church supported by Head of Village Council Petro Pidruchny and Chairman of Malyn Department of “Svoboda” political party Mykola Polynovsky sealed the church. The majority of the attendances are people, who do not participate in the life of the church as UOC stated.

The conflict occurred after the agitation against “the church of country-aggressor” at the meeting as the witnesses stated. The followers of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church decided to claim the possessions of the community of Saint Nicholas Church and shouted at the objections of pastor and protoiereus Vasyl Semchuk. The priest was hospitalized with a hypertensive crisis after the communication with aggressive activists.
The skirmish continued near the church. According to “Pervy Kozatsky”, the UOC community did not let the crowd to proceed to the temple.  The police, which prevented the clashes, was on duty near the site. The Chairman of the Village Council insisted on the sealing of the building. The believers planned to hold the divine service under the open sky but the pastor could not head the service. Protoiereus Vitaly, the pastor of neighboring Saint Pokrovsky church in Malyn, was appointed as the temporary pastor.

The same people, as two days ago, did not allow the pastor to enter the church, pushed him, stating that “they will not allow to hold the divine service on the territory of the temple”. However, the UOC believers were not allowed to film what is happening, kicking the phones out of their hands.
“I do not know how the divine services will take place further, but we will do all possible within our capacity to let the service take place even not in the church,” protoiereus Vitaly said.

More than dozens of the law enforcers of Malyn police observed the course of events.

Earlier Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew passed the Tomos of autocephaly and bishops’ crosier to primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Epifaniy. The event happened during the festive service in St. George's Cathedral.

Besides, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko guarantees the state’s respect for the religious choice of every citizen of the country. 
 
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