“At the moment, more than 20 churches have been illegally taken from us. Those religious communities that didn’t want to transfer and whose churches were taken, are celebrating services in houses,” Bp. Nathaniel explained.
His Grace Bishop Viktor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka, the head of the canonical Ukrainian Church’s representation to European international organizations has released a video message in which he addresses the UN, the EU, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe concerning the widespread violations of human rights in Ukraine that the faithful of the canonical Church are facing, and of the real threat of an escalation in religious conflicts.
The clergy and ruling hierarchs of the Borodyanka, Obukhov, Vishnev, Boyarka, Makarov, and Vasilkov vicariates of the Kiev Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church recently met under the chairmanship of the Secretary of the Kiev Diocese Bishop Dionysiy of Pereyaslav-and Khmelnitsky, who told the gathered clergy about the situation with the parishes in the canonical Church and about the legal means of settling the situation.
Despite the fact that the parish community has fully-confirmed rights to ownership of the church building and has won all national trials on the matter, the use of the church is, in fact, blocked by the state authorities.
Clergy of the Khmelnitsky Diocese gathered in their regular session of the Diocesan Council on February 13 where they expressed their unanimous support for their ruling bishop His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of Khmelnitsky and Starokostiantinov and for the primate of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine and their loyalty to the canonical Church.
Unlike other former USSR nations, the Ukrainian state has not returned many of the most valuable Church sites to the control of the Church. Thus, the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras are officially state museums that are only temporarily leased out for Church use.
The apotheosis of this lawlessness was the formation of the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” on the basis of structures that had fallen away from the Mother Church, whose autocephaly the Patriarchate of Constantinople single-handedly established by issuing a tomos.
Conflicts around the jurisdiction and seizing of churches are organized by parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church who “bribe and intimidate people,” says the head of the Ukrainian schismatic church, “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko.