Chernivtsi Province, Ukraine, January 3, 2019
Schismatics throughout Ukraine are continuing their tradition of staging phony votes to force a parish of the canonical Ukrainian Church to move into schism. In the past parishes were forced either into the “Kiev Patriarchate” or the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” but now they are being forced into Poroshenko-Constantinople’s nationalist church that was created out of the two schismatic structures.
According to the Union of Orthodox Journalists, schismatics from surrounding villages showed up at two canonical parishes in the Chernivtsi Province, in the villages of Karapchov and Boyanchuk, on Sunday, December 30, brought in specifically to participate in “church councils” organized by the local authorities.
The Secretary of the Chernivtsi and Bukovina Diocese Archimandrite Nikita (Storozhuk) explained that immediately after he celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos in Karapchov, a “church meeting” was held including a vote to transfer to the nationalist church. The majority of the votes were obtained in the usual way: The meeting was attended by residents of neighboring villages who were bussed in. As a result, the “church community” of the village voted in favor of transferring and moved into the new church structure. Although the majority of the true parish community was against the move, they were in the minority of those present and could do nothing about the phony vote.
Fr. Nikita also noted that the village head was a member of the parish council and was strongly in favor of transferring to the nationalist church. The proceedings were filmed by a representative of the Dept. of Culture of the Chernivtsi Regional State Administration who behaved provocatively and presented an order from the head of the Department of Culture.
Fr. Nikita wrote a statement to the Chernivtsi Province Prosecutor’s Office on the abuse of power by the Dept. of Culture representative which led to damage to the lawful rights and interests of the true parish community of the Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos.
The same scenario was used to force the transfer of the Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos in the village of Boyanchuk as well, where the priest Fr. Theodore refused to join the schismatic church but instead remained faithful to Christ in the canonical Ukrainian Church.
Raiders carried out a similar vote in the Church of St. Michael in the village of Krasnovolya on the same day, reports the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
A group of about 40 from other villages showed up, the majority of whom are not parishioners of the church and announced a church meeting immediately following the Liturgy. They were so insistent that they didn’t even allow the priest to serve a panikhida for a fallen soldier.
They started a debate with the priest who informed them that their attempt would be canceled by any court as, according to the church statutes, only the rector or someone from the parish council could initiate such changes. When the discussion became heated, the priest was forced to call the police, as a similar incident had occurred at the parish the week before.
The activists claimed they had already gathered 300 signatures, though it is unclear where these signatures came from, and why these 300 people did not come to the church. The raiders then staged a vote, voting to abandon the canonical Church and move into the schismatic nationalist church.
The speed with which the local media reported the event indicates that the decision to force the parish transition had already been decided well in advance.
The priests and parishioners of the canonical Church refused to participate in the shameful vote.
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