Odessa, August 16, 2018
On the feast of the Procession of the Precious Wood of the Life-giving Cross of the Lord on Tuesday, believers and clergy of the Odessa Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church were prevented from celebrating festal services in the Church of Equal-to-the-Apostles Saints Cyril and Methodius at the Odessa Military Academy.
Clergy and a great multitude of faithful arrived early in the morning to participate in the Church services. The believers were stopped, however, at the academy checkpoint by soldiers, who, acting under verbal orders, refused to allow the faithful to enter their church, reports the site of the Odessa Diocese.
The church is located on the territory of one of the oldest military educational institutions in Odessa.
At the same time, so-called chaplains of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) were allowed to enter the academy unhindered via the same military checkpoint. According to the rector of the church, Archpriest Sergei Dmitriev, a cabal of “military chaplains” comprised of both the KP and the Uniate Church proceeded into the academy. Yesterday, they demanded in an ultimatum that the church belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church be opened to them so they could serve a Liturgy together.
The rector of the church refused to do so, as it’s forbidden by canon law, noting that “at this moment in history, we cannot serve together,” and he suggested that the military chaplains simply pray in the church. Representatives of the schismatics made it clear, however, that they would still come to the church the next day to celebrate their illicit services.
These obstructions of the activities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church once again confirm, that unprecedented pressure is being levied against the believers and clergy of the canonical church. According to representatives of the Odessa diocese, these obstructions regularly take the form of the seizure of churches, provocations, threats, and the prohibition of worship services.
In connection with these facts, the diocese appeals to the international community, asking that attention be drawn to the systematic violations of the rights of the faithful of the Odessa Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the religious-based oppression.
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