Chetvertnya, Ukraine, February 14, 2020
On August 20, a commission consisting of officials from the Volyn Provincial State Administration accompanied by police “transferred” the Holy Transfiguration Church of the canonical Ukrainian Church in the village of Chetvertnya to local activists from the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”
Since that time, the local faithful have only gone deeper in their spiritual lives and have gained a greater appreciation for the Divine services of the Church.
Even the OCU activists are surprised by the great thirst for God displayed by the faithful of the canonical UOC, local rector Archpriest Seraphim Simonovich said in recent comments to a Union of Orthodox Journalists correspondent.
According to Fr. Seraphim, although the court granted the complaint of human rights defenders about the violation of the rights of the UOC in the village, it did not render any decision on the order to re-register the community in the OCU.
However, Fr. Seraphim is happy to report that there are no more conflicts in the village. Over the past 6 months, the UOC faithful have been quietly praying in a room equipped for services, and plans are underway to build a new church.
The community lives well and many people gather for the services, the archpriest reports. “A lot of things have already been bought: icons, books, the altar, the table of oblation, candlesticks, vestments—we’ve already bought everything. We are already living a normal spiritual life. No one really bothers us.”
Since the seizure of the church, there has been only one other “attack” on the parishioners, when one of the schismatic activists filed a claim with the tax service saying the parish was illegally collecting money, though the claim came to nothing.
“The community has become unified. Even the OCU is talking about us,” Fr. Seraphim says. Whenever he serves, the people come from everywhere, on time, or even early.
“The people even have a thirst, a goal, to come to church earlier… The people began to especially appreciate the Liturgy,” Fr. Seraphim emphasized.
Earlier, one of the parishioners of the captured church commented that “We do not respond to evil with evil. We keep peace in our souls and Christ in our hearts. We put all our hope in Him.”