Vaslovovtsi, Ukraine, June 4, 2019
A commission of the Zastava regional administration (Chernivtsi Province) has proposed depriving the faithful of the Church of the Dormition in the village of Vaslovovtsi of their parental rights if they take their children to church or allow them to be near the church after services, reports the press service of the Chernivtsi-Bukovina Diocese of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
According to the diocese, a meeting of a 12-member commission, including representatives of social services, the police, and doctors, was held on May 31 to discuss two questions: the dangers of teachers who are members of the canonical Church, and on depriving parishioners of Holy Dormition of parental rights.
In particular, the commission believes the work of teachers in the village who take their children to Holy Dormition is dangerous, given that there have been multiple violent attacks against the church, perpetrated by nationalist schismatics.
“If these educators endanger their own children, then what harm could such educators cause in an educational institution to other people’s children,” the commission said.
The report notes that on the second point, it was decided to “apply to social services for the protection of children to go around to the homes of parishioners and conduct conversations so the faithful wouldn’t take their children to church with them, or would send their children home immediately after the service, so they wouldn’t accidentally get hurt or interfere with the seizure of the church.”
In the event that any parents don’t listen to the social services representatives, the commission proposes depriving them of their parental rights.
In response, the faithful of Holy Dormition Church made the following statement:
1. If they force us to choose either our faith or our job, we are ready to write a letter of resignation.
2. We have taken, we take, and we will continue to take our children to church.
When we’re at church, what should the children do at home by themselves?
When we’re praying at church all day and all night, taking turns with one another, what should the children do at home by themselves?
3. If the head of the region is sincerely worried about the safety of the children, then it would be better to stop the attempts to seize the church.
Everyone knows that the seizure of the church is his—Yuri Kitar’s—personal initiative.
There is no other way to teach children the faith of Christ than by a parent’s own example.
The Dormition Church has been under attack since January 27, when the territorial community voted to force the parish into the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.” Meanwhile, the parish community met the same day and unanimously confirmed its loyalty to the canonical Church headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.
To protect the church from seizure, the faithful began a continuous prayer vigil. On May 7, the Chernivtsi administration re-registered the church to the schismatic OCU. On the basis of this document, the schismatics attempted to seize the church on May 26.
On May 26, he parish faithful and their rector recorded a video address to President Vladimir Zelensky, imploring him to protect their church from the arbitrariness of the local authorities and the schismatic activists.
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