Pticha village (the Rivne region of Western Ukraine), December 22, 2015
Parishioners of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church have been blocked without light and food inside their own church of Pticha village in the Rivne region already for the second day. They were taken hostage by followers of the “Kyiv Patriarchate” schismatic organization and “Right Sector” extremists. The members of the Holy Dormition parish are praying hard and believe that they will be able to protect their temple from the lawlessness of the church raiders, reports the UOC MP’s Information Department with reference to Archpriest Viktor Zemlyanoy, cleric of the Rivne Diocese.
Unprecedented provocation is going on in the Rivne region, where representatives of the “Kyiv Patriarchate”, supported by the “Right Sector” militants, are striving to prevent the faithful from the canonical Church from worshipping in their own temple in Pticha village.
According to the Information Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, from the morning on December 18 the church raiders have not allowed the parishioners to approach their own church, though they had all necessary documents with them confirming their ownership of the church building, including several court rulings. According to the evidence of the Rivne Diocese’s representatives, the extremists used Molotov cocktails against the believers, the peaceful unarmed residents were beaten with batons and iron bars. According to Archpriest Viktor, the parishioners were seriously injured, including the priest himself.
After the parishioners of UOC MP had managed to get into the church through the side door, the “Kyiv Patriarchate” members encircled the church entrance and “cut” off the power supply, thus leaving the faithful without light. Additionally, the church raiders did not allow the officials of the Ukrainian National Security Service in to the faithful, reports the UOC MP’s Information Department.
During the night the “Kyiv Patriarchate” raiders continued their siege of the church, trying to remove UOC MP’s parishioners by force.
The situation to date has not changed. According to reports of the Rivne Diocese representatives, at the present time 12 women – parishioners of the UOC MP parish – and two priests are still being held hostage in the church without light and water. The parishioners of the Dormition Church of Pticha village are asking for prayers and requesting the public authorities to cease the lawlessness and blatant violation of rights against the local religious community of UOC MP.
On the same day the “Right Sector” disrupted a church service in the parish of Ugli village in the Ternopil region. Notorious for their criminal violence, these soldiers intimidated the local residents.
These raids of churches by paramilitary “Right Sector” bands are coordinated by the “Kyiv Patriarchate” priests, who are usually present at the events. “Archbishop” Ilarion (Drotsik) of the “Kyiv Patriarchate” in the Rivne region recently issued a call for reconciliation, saying, “Rejecting all religious strife, let us unite in one Local Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the Name of Christ. This could remove many problems in our country”. Meanwhile the clergy of Drotsik’s schismatic diocese are regularly perpetrating violent acts against churches and their parishioners, whose only fault is that they have no desire to hand their temples over to a non-canonical “Church”, nor wish to leave the canonical Church themselves.
The video material by the 112 Ukraine TV channel and photographs by the Ukrainian Union of Orthodox Journalists were used.