Parishioners protect hierarch from attack of schismatic priest (+ VIDEO)

Makhnovka, Ukraine, April 11, 2019

Suspended Archpriest Victor Bodnar approaching Abp. Barsanuphius to attack him. Photo: Suspended Archpriest Victor Bodnar approaching Abp. Barsanuphius to attack him. Photo:     

A former priest of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, suspended for joining the schismatic structure, tried to attack the canonical hierarch of the Vinnitsa Diocese, His Eminence Archbishop Barsanuphius on Sunday as he served a moleben. Thankfully, pious parishioners came to their beloved hierarch’s defense.

The Vinnitsa Diocese is one of the most volatile given that the former hierarch, Simeon Shostatsky, was one of only two canonical bishops to defect from the Church and join the schismatic so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.” Bp. Barsanuphius has been verbally and physically attacked several times since his appointment to the Vinnitsa Diocese in December.

Yesterday, following the celebration of the Presanctified Liturgy visited parishes in two other villages in his diocese where the faithful have been robbed of the possibility of celebrating the services in the their own churches, reports the press service of the Vinnitsa Diocese.

In the village of Gurovtsy, schismatic activists closed and sealed the church in January and the faithful have been unable to pray in their church since then. Thus, they warmly welcomed Abp. Barsanuphius and the accompanying clergy, who together served a moleben at the cross in the church yard.

The atmosphere in the next village, Makhnova, was, unfortunately, not as peaceful, where the local church had been transferred to the schismatic church on the initiative of the priest, Victor Bodnar. He was later suspended for his defection.

As can be seen in the video published on the Vinnitsa Diocese’s YouTube page, schismatic activists in Makhnovka greeted Abp. Barsanuphius with shouts and noise, rudely trying to prevent the canonical faithful from praying.

After a short conversation with some of the schismatic-nationalists, the Archbishop began the service, and when those gathered began to sing O Heavenly King, the activists began shouting, unable to bear the prayers to God. During the prayer, Victor Bodnar walked straight towards Abp. Barsanuphius and tried to hit him, though several of the faithful stepped in and prevented him.

The faithful continued praying as the scuffle continued and then settled down.

A statement was given to the police about the attempted attack on Abp. Barsanuphius.

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