SBU halts buses with UOC believers in Zaporozhye
In Zaporozhye, SBU officers stopped 5 buses with believers of the UOC, while in Zaporozhye region armed people blocked the way to another 9 buses.
Representatives of the Security Service of Ukraine blocked the passage of five buses with the faithful from Zaporozhye eparchy during the technical stop on the embankment highway in Zaporozhye, according to the Information and Educational Department of the UOC.
Priest Aleksandr Mikitenko, cleric of Zaporozhye eparchy, Kamenka-Dnepr deanery, Blagoveshchenka village, said that four executive-class cars drove up to them during the stop.
"About ten employees of the SBU came out of the cars. They said they had allegedly received a report about the mining of our buses. These people rudely demanded from the priest of our column that he obeyed them and everyone left the buses and enabled explosion technicians, who were supposed to turn up soon, to inspect the vehicles."
The priest noted that for more than an hour and a half no one arrived at the place.
At three o'clock in the morning the believers continued their journey to the capital.
In Zaporozhye region unknown for some time blocked the way to 9 buses with the faithful, who were making for the procession to Kiev from Zaporozhye and Melitopol.
“8 buses with pilgrims left Zaporozhye for the All-Ukrainian Cross procession. They were blocked at the exit from Zaporozhye," said Father Gennady, cleric of the Zaporozhye eparchy. There was also a bus from Melitopol in the column.
The priest noted that those having blocked the passage were armed. The buses were halted by private cars. The scene was witnessed by the police.
The ruling bishop of the eparchy, Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye and Melitopol, instructed the faithful to call the police on the spot and make a collective statement that an unknown public organization impeded the implementation of the religious rite.
As reported by the UOJ, officials massively block the participation of believers in the religious procession of the UOC. In Zaporozhye, Zhitomir, Rovno and other regions, the UOC believers are prevented from attending the procession in the capital, including putting pressure on carriers.
Earlier, commenting on media reports on obstructions created by the authorities for participation of the UOC believers in the cross procession, lawyers from NGO Public Advocacy qualified it as a criminal offense.