Zadubrovka, Ukraine, May 5, 2020
Archpriest Leonid Delikatny. Photo: Facebook
Yesterday morning, May 4, Archpriest Leonid Delikatny, rector of the Church of the Archangel Michael in the village of Zadubrovka in the Chernivtsi Province of Ukraine, reposed in the Lord, reports the press service of the Chernivtsi-Bukovina Diocese of the UOC.
He is remembered as a zealous defender of the Orthodox faith in the village. For more than a year, together with the parish, he prayed round-the-clock, keeping watch to protect the church from the schismatics of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.” He even slept on the floor of the church, and froze during wintertime vigils.
That same day as his repose, a group of those schismatics of the OCU used the opportunity to try to forcibly seize the church. They broke down the church gates and beat the parishioners who came to defend their place of worship, with three being taken to the hospital.
Later in the morning after Fr. Leonid’s untimely repose, schismatics from the “Orthodox Church in Ukraine” appeared at the church, threatening those who were on duty and laughing and rejoicing in the repose of Fr. Leonid. After about 40 minutes of “triumph” and threats, the schismatic-nationalists left.
Around 5:00 PM, internet was suddenly lost on the territory of the church.
Around 10:00 PM, an Orthodox parishioner noticed a crowd in balaclavas heading towards the church. There were several men and three women on duty at the church at the time. The women were immediately sent inside and locked the doors, while the men stood guard.
The lights on the territory of the church suddenly went out as the crowd reached the church. Using an angle grinder, the schismatics cut the locks from the first and second gate, allowing the 30-40 of them to enter the church grounds.
Fortunately, the canonical faithful were able to call others and publish messages online about the attack, summoning other parishioners to come protect the church.
Meanwhile, the men guarding the church were dragged into the yard and mercilessly beat unconscious with clubs, fists, and feet. A little while later, a 17-year-old boy was also beaten when he arrived with his mother to protect the church.
The schismatics then attempted to cut the locks to the church, though the generator powering their angle grinder failed. Then they began to launch tear gas into the church, trying to force the women inside to open the doors. However, the women stood their ground, and the crowd began to attack the doors with a crowbar.
However, Fr. Leonid had reinforced the doors with several strong bolts in preparation for such an incident, and the crowed failed to break down the doors.
Victims of the attack. Photo: Facebook At the same time, another group, led by a “cleric” of the schismatic OCU blocked the road to the village with cars and felled trees to prevent the UOC faithful from defending their church. Many Orthodox faithful left their cars in a field and walked to their church on foot.
The OCU “priest” personally prevented an ambulance from reaching the church and providing medical assistance to the victims of the attack until he was forced to clear the road by the National Police.
Police managed to arrive to the church 20 minutes after the incident started and were themselves hit by the nationalist radicals. Only when more and more officers began to arrive did the attackers begin to pull back. The police saw them leaving the church territory with the angle grinder and generator but did nothing to stop and detain them.
The lights on the church territory suddenly reappeared as soon as one of the local police chiefs arrived. Interestingly, the OCU raiders were able to leave the scene of the crime without being detained at all.
The injured faithful gave statements to the police, and throughout the entire night, parishioners remained at the church singing Christ is Risen and praying for the repose of the soul of their beloved priest Fr. Leonid.
The church is now under round-the-clock protection by the police, the Chernivtsi Provincial Police report.