Vinnitsa, Ukraine, December 24, 2018
According to information from several heads of rural councils in the Bershad Region of the Vinnitsa Province, they received calls on December 22 from the Deputy of the Bershad Regional Administration V. E. Olshevsky with demands to actively pressure the rural priests of the canonical Ukrainian Church, to organize provocations around churches, and to incite villagers to move from the canonical Church into the new nationalist church created by Constantinople last Saturday.
Metropolitan Jonathan of Tulchin and Bratslav wrote about the phone calls on his personal website.
During the calls, Oshelsky assured that if the council heads manage to convince the local priests to transfer to the new Ukrainian church, the Bershad Regional authorities will help in the “organized delivery” of the so-called “parishioners” from outside to participate in fake “parish” meetings.
Schismatics have seized several parishes of the canonical Church by posing as parishioners and voting to move into the various schismatic jurisdictions that have existed in Ukraine.
Met. Jonathan also reports that at the latest Bershad city council meeting on December 21, several deputies made aggressive calls for the capture of the church in the regional center of Bershad.
The priests and faithful of the Tulchin Diocese have declared that they will protect their churches from the illegal actions of officials and radical deputies in the Vinnitsa Province.
On October 4, the clergy of the Tulchin Diocese reaffirmed the oath they took upon ordination during a Divine Liturgy served by Met. Jonathan in the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ.
“We, as faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and as citizens of Ukraine, will firmly defend our religious institutions, the canonical order of our Church, and our constitutional rights, and protect our churches and monasteries from illegal discriminatory encroachments upon them ‘from outside,’” the priests said before the Cross and the Gospel.
The Tulchin clergy affirmed yet again their fidelity to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church at their recent clergy assembly, having heard and unanimously approved the Holy Synod’s appeal of December 17 that rejects the results of December 15’s “unification council.”
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