Klepachev, Ukraine, November 12, 2020
On November 10, Fr. Vladimir Tikhonuk of the parish of Elijah the Prophet of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the village of Klepachev in the Volyn Province published a photo on his Facebook page that he had come across on social media. The photo shows an OCU activist posing with a firearm on church territory, aimed at the house of Fr. Vladimir and his family, reports the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
The schismatics have been known to violently attack clergy, monastics, and the faithful of the Ukrainian Church, including women, and have even put some clergy in the hospital. They have threatened to kill other priests as well.
The Church of St. Elijah in the village was illegally reregistered to the schismatics last spring, after which they violently seized the building, leaving the Orthodox faithful to pray in an adapted room. Now the schismatics have taken to threatening Fr. Vladimir and his family and the house he is building.
“I recently came across a photo on Facebook showing how they point weapons at the house being built for my family… It doesn’t seem like much, by why are there weapons near the church on the feast of the Holy Protection?” Fr. Vladimir writes.
In these difficult times for Ukraine, those who actually protect its territorial integrity have a right to brandish weapons, Fr. Vladimir believes. But these “sofa patriots” simply “try to fight with peaceful and defenseless people who want only one thing—to peacefully pray to God for the peace and prosperity of their homeland,” he comments.
And recalling Christ’s command to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors, the priest continues: “To be honest, it’s not easy, but, I sincerely pity those heroes depicted in this photo and sincerely ask the merciful Lord for peace for their hearts and souls that are maimed by anger and hatred for their co-religionists and brothers and sisters of the same blood.”
Reminding the schismatics that the Resurrection of the dead awaits us all, he states: “If you declare yourself people of faith, then at least try to live according to the voice of your conscience, if you still hear it...”
As Fr. Vladimir writes, he had to post the photo out of concern for his family and his children, “as such photos are not proof of an attempt on someone’s life for our modern police.”