Who cares about the court, the law and the rights of children: how a priest is evicted in Gribovitsa

Events of October 26-28 in the Volyn village of Gribovitsa wrote a new chapter of lawlessness in the history of Ukrainian church raiding. In those days, a crowd of supporters of the Kyiv Patriarchate with savage obsession evicted the priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Archpriest Igor Margit from his house.

There is no doubt that the "patriotic" media will begin to present the incident in the church house as a victory of the new Ukrainian justice, claiming that the indignant community of the village, unable to stand it anymore, drove out the "Moscow priest" from the house. To dot the "i", the UOJ has restored the chronology of these busy days.

On October 26, a trial was to be held on the lawsuit filed by Archpriest Igor Margita against the local authorities, which denied him the right to claim the church house. The land under the house is already in the ownership of the village council, now the authorities also need the real estate. The court hearing was postponed to November 14. But local religious fanatics decided not to wait for it and resolve the issue in their own way.

On the night of October 26, several dozen residents of the village of Gribovitsa broke open one of the window frames near the second entrance to the church house, took out the key inserted from inside, made their way into the house of the UOC priest and occupied it. One group blocked the hostess, the regent of the Holy Protection Church of the UOC, another blocked the possibility of doing anything for the rector of the community, who was detained in another part of the house. Further, the burglars put the window frame into place and sat down in the hall, demanding that Fr. Igor move out of the house where he was registered with his family, including a minor son.


After that, the arbitrary Filaret followers claimed that they would settle here their current clergyman and began to take apart and out the furniture and other things from the house to the yard. Until late night, the self-proclaimed "village community" of the perpetrators did not allow other Gribovitsa residents to enter the house to support the priest of the UOC.

The police almost did not react to what was happening. Any educational or disciplinary measure were in vain: the raiders, who lost any idea of propriety, refused to leave the premises. For some reason, the law enforcers did not make other attempts to prevent the offence.


Vitaly Tortina, the deputy head of the Regional Police Department for Preventive Action, commented to the UOJ on the developments as an attempt to resolve the conflict by agreement and said that law enforcers were obliged to ensure that there were no open clashes. Breaking into the house and forcible retention of other people's property apparently are not such actions.

According to the faithful of the UOC, some passivity of local law enforcement officers can be partially explained by the fact that representatives of district "patriotic" political forces "talked" to the police before arriving at the scene of the crime: one of their representatives is running for elections to the Ivanichi united territorial community, which are to be held on 29 October. The policemen were allegedly explained that, on their call, "everything had already been decided," and it was pointless to take any decisive action.

The schismatics who occupied the house openly told the police and lawyers of the UOC community that they did not care either about the trial for this property or the registered minor, or the break-in, or the fact that their whole group had no reason to come to someone else's house without an invitation.

The priest's belongings were lying on the street until four in the morning, until it began to rain. After that, the raiders watching the house were probably afraid of the property damage and brought everything back.

The next day the "meeting" continued. Representatives of local authorities brought BTI employees to the house for measurements and registration of the technical passport to deprive the registered family of the opportunity to claim the house.

Late at night of October 27, representatives of the police department demanded that the Filaret supporters occupying the house fulfill their part of the promises and leave the house "stopping being ridiculous". The law enforcement officers failed to persuade the raiders, and they again spent the night in the house together with the priest's family.

"At the moment, the representatives of the UOC-KP continue to occupy the hall in the church house," says Fr. Igor Margita. The day before, he had he received an official confirmation from law enforcement officers that they had entered the incident in Gribovitsa into the Unified Register of Pre-trial Investigations on the application for arbitrariness.


There is a fragile agreement that until November 7 the raging raiders leave the family alone, so that people can get packed and get out of the house before this time. The Though Filaret followers continue to block the building, the parishioners of the UOC managed to get to their priest on the second day to bring him food and help to gather things.


Parishioners of the Holy Protection community of the UOC say that their community mainly includes young people who work late. While Kyiv Patriarchate was joined by seniors who manage the community, the changing priests and other people's property, and due to constant leisure have time to live in "field conditions", what they are actually doing at the moment.

For a more complete picture, the Orthodox parishioners of Gribovitsa mentioned several recent events. The village already had no own minibus: the carrier could not stand constant conflicts with the local contingent and cancelled the route. Attempts to provide Gribovitsa with quality Internet connection also failed as active parishioners of the UOC-KP, being afraid of "irradiation", made sure that technical equipment was not installed in the village. The fact that the idea was promoted by their like-minded person did not affect the situation in any way.

The Gribovitsa village council will soon be liquidated too: elections to the united territorial community on October 29 should clarify the issue of the governance of the notorious village. It is still unknown whether the active parishioners of the Kyiv Patriarchate will shift their activities to the club and the school that remain in the village.

However, it was not possible to destroy the Holy Protection community in Gribovitsa, despite all the efforts of the local authorities, officials and the inadequate asset. Despite two sleepless nights, the UOC parishioners gathered in their church on the morning of October 28 for worship. The planned evening service on Friday was disrupted, but the Orthodox community continues its activities. "We have a place to live, we will continue services in the village for our faithful," the clergyman of the UOC promises.

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