Sumy, Ukraine, September 22, 2017
Despite the executive committee of the city council’s ban against it, the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will hold a cross procession on the feast of the Holy Protection on October 14 in the city of Sumy in northeastern Ukraine, reports the Information Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
“This cross procession and Liturgy on the place of the destroyed Church of the Holy Protection in Sumy is held annually. Thousands come to pray for peace in Ukraine,” stated Archbishop Evlogy of Sumy and Okhtyrka.
He further noted that it is not within the competency of the committee to allow or ban acts of prayer: “The executive committee has no right to forbid us from holding the procession, all the moreso because we did not ask its permission. In accordance with the law, we informed the mayor of the city that there will be services on October 14.”
As in previous years, the archbishop noted, the Orthodox citizens of Sumy and visitors from other cities together with the clergy are planning to process from Holy Transfiguration Cathedral, on the place where the Holy Protection Church, destroyed in the 1930s, was located.
“The believers are set on holding the procession and Liturgy, so we’re having it,” the archbishop emphasized. “In this case, the executive committee is continuing the work of the Bolsheviks who destroyed, ruined, crucified, and vilified our Christian people’s sacred objects,” Abp. Evlogy added, according to the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
One Ukrainian Orthodox faithful Oksana recalls participating in the procession two years ago: “The service is held on the site of the ruined church, the people pray for peace, for prosperity in our state. This conciliar prayer has great power, and the Lord protects our city from all harm.”
On September 19, 2017, the executive committee of the Sumy city council did not support the draft resolution “On granting permission for the Sumy Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to hold a procession with a Liturgy.” Of the 10 members of the executive committee, 5 voted in favor, 3 against, and 2 abstained. 9 votes are required to adopt a resolution.