Moscow, November 9, 2017
The chairman of the Synodal Department for Church and Society and the Media Vladimir Legoida recently addressed the sorrowful events occurring with the Annunciation Church in Kolomiya, Ukraine, calling the situation, in which Uniates have stolen the church from the Orthodox faithful, outrageous, reports pravoslavie.ru.
“It is absolutely unthinkable what is happening with the parishioners of the Annunciation Church in Kolomiya in the Ivano-Frankivsk Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, who have been denied the right to pray in their church, in their own country,” Legoida stated.
The Holy Annunciation Church has been the subject of an ongoing battle between the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and the Uniate Greek Catholic Church which has illegitimately seized the church building. On June 4, 2017, the feast of Pentecost, Uniate priests with the support of soldiers of “the Black Hundred” group made a raider siege of the church, fraudulently entering the church and celebrating their liturgy there. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church made a statement soon after, explaining the historical situation surrounding the parish.
Two weeks ago, the Ukrainian Orthodox diocese published a video showing clergy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church brutally beating women and other Orthodox believers outside the Annunciation Church. The Uniates had seized the church on October 18.
“The lawlessness and hatred with which these persons, calling themselves parishioners of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, act, is reminiscent of the events of the era of militant communism, when believers were expelled from churches under false pretenses,” he stressed.
“The actions of those who have seized the church is worthy of the godless era of communism, but not of believers in Christ, which these people consider themselves,” the Church representative added.
“I urge you to hear the call of the simple parishioners of the Annunciation Church, who have turned to the president of Ukraine, to Pope Francis of Rome, to international organizations, and to Ukrainian society with the request to intervene in the situation around the Annunciation Church in Kolomiya, and to take the necessary measures to restore the violated rights of the Orthodox community,” Legoida concluded.