Stryi, Lvov Province, Ukraine, May 23, 2022
Photo: news.church.ua Showing disdain for the celebration of the holy Eucharist, Ukrainian nationalists burst into a church and doused the priest’s face with green antiseptic during the Divine Liturgy yesterday.
The incident occurred at Holy Resurrection Church in the city of Stryi in the western Lvov Province, where the canonical Church is especially under attack, especially since the fratricidal war began in late February.
The Ukrainian Church’s Information-Education Department quotes the priest’s daughter:
Good people! This is the cry of the soul! What is happening in our country?! This is my father, Fr. Vladimir, a priest of the UOC in Stryi. Today, during a Church service, he was shot in the face with green paint by the so-called nationalists who are seizing our churches.
I write once again: Our priests pray for our soldiers, for our country, we pray in the Church Slavonic language, we help any way we can: with money, humanitarian aid. Come to your senses, God can’t be mocked. Each of us will give an answer to God for everything.
Such actions expose the cries of the schismatic nationalists to unite in prayer in the “Orthodox Church in Ukraine,” proving their true goal to be the complete elimination of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Chernivtsi Diocese comments on the incident.
“For as long as the Church exists, there will be a constant struggle between light and darkness, between a healthy body and disease,” the diocese stressed.
At least one Parliamentarian Deputy also commented on the incident. Maxim Buzhansky of the Servant of the People Party writes on Telegram: “If our entire country really supports the course towards the EU as polls show, this crime should receive the unambiguous assessment of society. Harassment of dissidents, harassment for language, harassment for religion, any harassment must be a thing of the past.”
The police should be working to identify and apprehend the perpetrators, the Deputy writes.
The courage required to attack a priest rather than join the war effort “is huge,” Buzhansky writes sarcastically.
Officials in Boryslav, another Lvov Province city, recently voted to completely ban the canonical Orthodox Church beginning June 1.