Ukrainian officials lie to UN, deny violence against Orthodox faithful despite video proof (+VIDEOS)

Geneva, January 30, 2024

Fr. Vasily Romanyuk had to be hospitalized after he was attacked and tear gassed last March. Photo: Fr. Vasily Romanyuk had to be hospitalized after he was attacked and tear gassed last March. Photo:     

Ukrainian officials issued a report last week in which they lied to the United Nations concerning a violent church takeover in March of last year.

On November 8, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Special Rapporteur on minority issues, and Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief issued a statement concerning the lamentable situation surrounding the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra and other incidents of violence against Ukrainian Orthodox Christians.

The UN officials wrote:

In the aftermath of the developments relating to the Kyiv-Perchersk Lavra, a notable increase in incidents of hate speech and calls to violence against believers of the UOC were recorded from several areas, mainly within the Western regions of Ukraine. For instance, on 28 March 2023, unidentified individuals forcefully broke into the remaining UOC church in Ivano-Frankivsk. This attack involved spraying teargas and forcible removal of believers and clergy from the building. Between 1 February and 31 July 2023, a dozen cases of physical violence and several cases of threats of violence resulting from conflicts between parishioners of different Orthodox Christian communities were documented. On 4 April 2023, Khmelnytskyy city council ruled to terminate all agreements of municipal land possession by UOC. Later that day, Khmelytskyy region council ruled a similar decision, banning UOC in the entire region. Several city and regional councils also banned “activities of the UOC” in their respective areas.

In its response published on January 22, the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN Office and Other International Organizations in Geneva simply denied the incident in Ivano-Frankivsk, despite the fact that there is video proof.

The Ukrainian authorities state: “No cases of violence commiqed against persons belonging to the UOC or discrimina8on on religious grounds were recorded in the territory of the Ivano-Frankivsk region. Disputes between religious opponents were resolved in court.”

However, the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ was in fact physically attacked on March 28. The cathedral had already been illegally reregistered to the graceless schismatics of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” who then carried out a violent physical takeover and began holding their services in the church.

Several hundred aggressive nationalists showed up at the church yesterday morning, while the faithful also came out to defend their church. The Orthodox Christians chanted prayers, while the schismatics shouted angry slogans. The Ivano-Frankivsk Diocese broadcast a live stream of the unfortunate event:

During the storming of the church, the raiders even sprayed tear gas on the faithful, who were peacefully praying:

Eventually, the raiders broken open the side doors and entered the church. They then opened the main door from inside and pushed the faithful down the stairs. “Everything occurred with the complete inaction of the representatives of law enforcement,” writes the Union of Orthodox Journalists.

During the takeover, the Orthodox rector Archpriest Vasily Romanyuk was sprayed in the face with tear gas, after which he lost consciousness and fell over, and had to be taken to the hospital.

Clerics of the schismatic OCU and the Uniate Ukrainian Greek Catholic church then prayed in the altar together.

Provincial Governor Rusla Martsinkiv then gloated that the Ivano-Frankivsk Province was the first to be “cleansed” of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The document from the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN also includes a lengthy justification for the state’s decision to evict the Orthodox Church and monastic brotherhood from the Kiev Caves Lavra.

Follow OrthoChristian on Twitter, Vkontakte, Telegram, WhatsApp, MeWe, and Gab!


to our mailing list

* indicates required