October 2, 2015
Translated by K. Rus
The parishioners of Moscow Patriarchate picketed the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, in protest against the seizures of churches
On Thursday, the parishioners of the Kiev orthodox churches [of Moscow Patriarchate] held a Cross procession and prayer vigil in front of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. The participants protested against the police assisting in the seizure by the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” of churches of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC).
During the prayer vigils believers presented Arsen Avakov with an appeal:
“For the second year in a row in different regions of Ukraine continue the criminal attacks of dissenters and nationalists for the purpose of seizures of temples and desecration of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church” – says the appeal. In particular, they cite the most recent example – the seizure by the “filaretovtsi” [followers of Filaret] of the Orthodox temple in the village of Ekaterinovka of Ternopil region, when the dissenters were traditionally helped not only by the Right Sector, but also the so-called “territorial battalion” “Ternopol” of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine”: “The parishioners were beaten up in the yard so that about two dozen believers suffered serious injuries (including broken limbs and head injuries, – ed.).
“Together with the militants of the “Right Sector” there were representatives of the territorial battalion “Ternopol”, which is a structural subdivision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine”, – continues the letter. “They also participated in the beating of defenseless believers of our Church, among whom were mostly women and the elderly. Meanwhile, the local police turned a blind eye”.
“Even more disturbing was the fact that against the parishioners who suffered from the hooligan actions of the militants, criminal cases were started”. – the letter states – In connection with this flagrant lawlessness the Primate of the UOC, Metropolitan Onufry sent to the President of Ukraine Poroshenko a letter with a request to stop the outrageous attacks on the churches of the UOC and the beatings of believers by militants, including in the village of Ekaterinovka and restore justice in relation to the events in this village”.
The orthodox put forward the following demands for Avakov:
– to punish the guilty and, primarily, representatives of the Interior Ministry battalion “Ternopol”, who, violating their professional duty, were on the side of the attackers on the innocent believers of our Church;
– to take all necessary measures to ensure that the rights of the faithful of the UOC are not violated in Ukraine – to stop attempts of church seizures of the UOC by the dissenters, which they regularly exercise together with the militants of the extremist organizations of Ukraine.
And the so-called “Kiev Patriarchate” was addressed by the director of the UOC, Metropolitan Anthony.
“It is impossible with one hand to promote stability, and with the second to ignite the flame of another confrontation in the Ukrainian society, – he writes. – As a result of illegal actions suffered the believers of our Church. Against women and unarmed men batons and tear gas were used, resulting in broken limbs and head injuries.
There have been more than thirty similar cases of church seizures. We hope that representatives of religious denomination, in favor of which the temples of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are now seized, will come to their senses and put the interests of the Ukrainian people above the desire to expand their religious possessions illegally. You cannot speak about reconciliation only in words. They need to be backed by concrete action. For example, by the return of the occupied churches to the faithful of the UOC that will be a visual proof of the sincerity of the words of seeking peace in Ukraine”.
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