Schismatics asking forgiveness, returning to Church in Volyn

Bronitsa, Volyn Province, Ukraine, August 13, 2021

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A number of people in the village of Bronitsa, Volyn Province, Ukraine, have returned from schism to the Orthodox Church, and those involved in violently seizing the local church have even offered their repentance and asked forgiveness.

The village’s Church of the Nativity of the St. John the Baptist was under constant attack by schismatics in early 2019. The community gathered in January and declared its intention to remain within the canonical Ukrainian Church. A few days later, OCU thugs physically attacked the priest as he was preparing for a Baptism.

They finally managed to seize the church in February, and the canonical community was forced to spend two years worshiping in a simple room adapted for liturgical purposes.

However, this year they were able to celebrate the Bright Resurrection of Christ in a new church that they built in a matter of months, dedicated to the She Who is Quick to Hear Icon of the Mother of God.

And on July 7, the community experienced a double cause for celebration, as the consecration of the church also became the occasion for the repentance of those involved in seizing the previous church, reports the Volyn Diocese.

“In fact, a lot of people have already returned back to us. They’re still coming back,” emphasized Fr. Nektary Priymak, who was appointed to serve the parish community after their church was seized in February 2019.

The parishioners told Fr. Nektary about how a vote was held to transfer the church to the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” with the participation of Protestants (the village is largely Protestant) and people who haven’t lived in Bronitsa for a long time. Signatures were also collected by fraud.

But on the day of the consecration, the OCU “activists” asked forgiveness, and together with the parishioners, they all partook of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Choir director Natalia Busko reflected: “It’s impossible to convey those times in words, when for your mom, dad, and brother, you suddenly turn into ‘evil Russian spirits who should be sent to Siberia.’ It’s a pain—an inner, burning, terrible pain. I later realized that I would forgive everything and those who did it.”

The villagers say they have never seen such a glorious celebration in Bronitsa before.

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