Mikhalcha, Ukraine, February 11, 2021
The faithful of Holy Dormition Church in the village of Mikhalcha in the Chernivtsi Province of Ukraine have been keeping a round-the-clock prayer vigil in defense of their church against violent schismatics for two years now.
During that time, they have endured insults, beatings, vandalism, pressure, and physical and legal threats, but their faith has only become more steadfast they say. Most recently, more than 50 armed schismatics failed to seize the church in mid-December, after which criminal proceedings were opened against the attackers.
On February 8, the day after the Sunday of the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church, the community celebrated the 2nd anniversary of their prayerful defense of their church and their right to remain in the canonical Church, reports the Information-Education Department of the Ukrainian Church.
The faithful marked the anniversary with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in the church yard.
The confrontation with the schismatics in the village began two years ago on the feast of the New Martyrs and Confessors. Since then, the canonical faithful have “taken on the feat of their ancestors, and for the second year now are protecting the purity of the faith from the renovationist (the “OCU”),” writes the press service of the Diocese of Chernivtsi and Bukovina.
The Diocese continues the parallel between the Renovationists of the 20th century and the OCU:
The OCU is more like a state project than a religious organization, and is from the godless authorities that ignore the lawlessness of the supporters of the “OCU.” There were such renovationists a hundred years ago; they appeared with the advent of Soviet power and were supported by the new government; they also tempted people to betray the canonical Church. The Renovationists were not persecuted by the authorities, not shot, not sent to Siberia and prisons, as they did with real believers. But over time, when the Soviet authorities were no longer interested in the Renovationists as a way to combat the canonical Church, their number decreased to a minimum.
According to the faithful of the Mikhalcha parish, it is the feat of the New Martyrs that inspires them to defend their faith.