Schismatics seize 6 churches in Vinnitsa Diocese

Vinnitsa, Ukraine, March 22, 2022

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The violent seizure of churches that has been going on in Ukraine for many years, which ramped up after the Patriarchate of Constantinople created the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” in 2018, has again ramped up since Russian troops landed in Ukraine in February.

Earlier this month, OrthoChristian reported that 6 churches and a monastery had been seized in the western Ivano-Frankivsk Province in just a week.

And today, the Union of Orthodox Journalists reports, with reference to local parishioners, that another 6 have been seized just in the Vinnitsa Diocese.

The Vinnitsa Diocese has been one of the most embattled in Ukraine since the creation of the OCU, as its former hierarch, Simeon Shostatsky, was one of only two Orthodox bishops to leave the Church and join the schismatics.

On March 6, OCU activists broke into a church in a Vinnitsa village, dragged the priest out by force, and seized the church. They also entered into the altar and desecrated the holy altar table.

On March 12, OCU nationalists disrupted the service in another village church and attempted to expel the priest and parishioners by force. Police sealed the church, though they opened it a few days later for the schismatics to use.

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On March 13, in the village of Sosenka, schismatics forced the parish council president to open the church, allegedly to check for weapons. Then the village representative took the keys and handed them over to the OCU. On the same day, activists in the village of Penkovka cut the locks of the local church and seized the church. They also desecrated the altar table and prevented the priest from taking the Holy Gifts. They also threw the liturgical utensils and books belonging to the Orthodox community out the window.

On March 19, representatives of the territorial defense blocked the way to the church in the village of Mizyakovskie Khutora and threatened the priest. The next day, the same people seized the church in a neighboring village.

Also on March 19, locals in the village of Bolshie Krushlintsy tried to take the church keys from the church, threatened to disrupt the service, and forced him to transfer to the OCU. The Union of Orthodox Journalists has learned that similar provocations are also being prepared in several other villages.

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Jesse Dominick 3/25/2022 5:54 pm
JJ, again, you need to consider the purpose of the site. It's not a secular news site, so we're not going to do a blow-by-blow of the war. But we DO report about what bishops are saying in response to it, we DO report on the humanitarian aid being poured out by Churches in response to it, we DO report on the increased persecution against the canonical Church because of it, we DO report on churches being damaged, we DO report on the problems it's causing for Church unity, etc. etc.
Juan3/24/2022 3:37 pm
JJ: Don't worry, the truth will come out about just who is bombing hospitals.
JJ3/24/2022 1:45 pm
@Jesse Dominik Then, on your principle, this site should dedicate a copious amount of space to "telling the story" (your words) of their orthodox brethren, the attacks on hospitals (as conformed by WHO) who are being slaughtered mercilessly wholesale, in Ukraine, right at this moment.
Jesse Dominick3/24/2022 9:27 am
JJ, your statement is simply quite odd: "I don't know why an American site is devoting so much energy and space to the argument between Russian Orthodox and Ukrainian Orthodox over church property." But this is not an "American site," but rather an Orthodox site. Why would an Orthodox site limit itself geographically? Can you think of any Orthodox news outlet that does this? And while we occasionally get complaints about our coverage of the church seizures in Ukraine from people who are living comfortably, whose churches aren't under attack, interestingly enough, we've never gotten a single complaint from the people who are suffering. No one seems to cry out, "Why are you telling our story?!"
JJ3/23/2022 1:25 am
I am surprised that Sandor Bronn's comment passed muster on this site. He repeats an inflammatory (and distasteful) political slogan; which is inappropriate to an Orthodox believer. Sandor Bronn is obviously a name adapted from the fantasy "Game of Thrones". Orthodox brothers and priests have repudiated "Games of Thrones" since it is filled with sex and violence, as has Nun Cornelia Rees writing on this site. It seems Sandor Bronn has mixed real life with his fantasies about violence, war and enmity. I don't know why an American site is devoting so much energy and space to the argument between Russian Orthodox and Ukrainian Orthodox over church property. Didn't Christ instruct us "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also". In America there is enough confusion of Orthodoxy with the OCA, the ROCOR, the MP, something called the true ROC (cannot remember) and myriad others, not to mention all the other various Orthodox churches - Greek, Romanian, Macedonian, Cypriot, Serb, Bulgarian, Moldovan, Antiochian, Georgian, all of whom politick, without having to discuss the church politicking in a foreign land. The disputes about ecclesiastical property would surely be subject to due judicial process (obviously not possible under the current circumstances). Who judges under law to whom an ecclesiastical property belongs? The court / judge obviously has to be impartial - cannot belong either to the MP or EP.
Sandor Bronn3/22/2022 5:17 pm
Soon will arrive the armies of our Orthodox Brothers to complete the de-Nazification of Ukraine. God be with them!
Alex3/22/2022 4:41 pm
When in chaotic times, the devil and his minions will always take advantage of things. May the Lord God protect the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. And, may peace rein!
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