Moscow, May 17, 2017
On the evening of May 15, priests of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” with about 20 supporters broke into Sts. Peter and Paul Church in the village of Kynakhivtsi in the Ternopil region, and began to celebrate a service, reports the Information Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The schismatics broke into the altar through the sacristy, and, breaking the Royal Gates, entered the church and began to pray. Parish rector Fr. Vitaly Gurev tried to stop the seizure of the church, but the “Kiev Patriarchate” supporters pushed the priest from the church porch and threw him down the stairs. The facts of the violation were recorded in a police statement.
Having arrived at the scene, the police officers did not release the church from the schismatics, inasmuch as they appealed to the decision of the Ternopil regional administration chairman Stepan Barni about the re-registration of the Sts. Peter and Paul parish charter, forcing it under the jurisdiction of the “Kiev Patriarchate.” The faithful of Sts. Peter and Paul were earlier forced to spend the night in their parish in February, on the eve of Great Lent, to protect it from the radicals attempting to take it at that time.
The faithful of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church are outraged at the explicit neglect of their rights to decide the fate of their own parish, since a decision was made by strangers a few months ago at the local village club. “Kiev Patriarchate” supporters are blocking the entrance to the church, not allowing the rightful owners—the parishioners and clergy—to enter.
Right-wing radicals from the “Freedom” party captured another church the next day, reports the Union of Orthodox Journalists. At around 3:00 PM, right-wing forces, headed by the deputy of the regional council Viktor Burlik, captured Holy Dormition Church in the village of Zoryane in the Khmel'nyts'ka region.
The “Freedom” representatives brought a priest of the “Kiev Patriarchate” who was given the keys to the church. The police were present at the seizure, having learned of it a half-hour beforehand, but did nothing to stop the attack. The radicals shouted threats and insults at the canonical priest and parishioners, although the situation never came to blows.
The parishioners of the church intend to appeal to the police and to the courts about the illegal actions of the “Kiev Patriarchate” supporters.