Pticha village, April 4, 2016
Those who were locked without food and water inside their own church have been finally replaced by others who volunteered to go in, reported Archpriest Anatoly Bogdanov, head of the local deanery, to the information and educational department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. Fr. Anatoly is currently on the scene, in Pticha village of Ukraine’s Rivne region.
“On Saturday April 2, we managed to replace the people who had been locked inside the church with others. And yesterday we handed over water and food to our faithful,” he said.
The events in the Pticha village developed on March 30 after an unsuccessful attempt to block the Kiev–Chop international highway, made by representatives of the so-called "Kyiv Patriarchate". The attempt failed and as a result the schismatics locked the Orthodox faithful inside the church for three days without water and food.
According to the priest, in recent days the schismatics’ aggression took the form of solely verbal abuse.
“The ‘Kyiv Patriarchate’ community’s representatives are continuously threatening UOC-MP faithful. All you ever hear there is insults directed at those who are in church, and the schismatics are promising to deal with them,” Fr. Anatoly said.
He has reported that more than ten police officers are currently on the territory of the church, maintaining order together with local residents: representatives of the ‘Kyiv Patriarchate’ along with clergy and laity of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
However, representatives of the local and regional authorities are acting passively and ignoring the situation, the archpriest stated.
According to an earlier report by the information and educational department of the UOC-MP, the schismatics are tooth-and-nail striving to influence the regional administration and the public, demanding that the Holy Dormition church be transferred to them and claiming their rights to it. Meanwhile, various courts in Ukraine have more than once confirmed the legal right of ownership of the religious community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the church building in Pticha.