In Khust eparchy OCU actors grab antimension and make provocation
The UOC parish, who had lost their church, gathered for prayer at the local cemetery but supporters of the new church structure tried to drive them away from there.
On Sunday, February 17, 2019 in the town of Veliky Bychkov of the Transcarpathian region, parishioners of the Holy Protection temple of Khust eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, whose rector had joined the OCU, gathered for prayer at the village cemetery with the permission of the local authorities, but activists of the new church structure organized a provocation and tried to drive the believers away from there.
According to the UOJ own sources, the conflict had been brewing for a week. On February 10, 2019, Protopriest Mikhail Yagniuk, the rector of the Holy Protection temple, and some of the parishioners voted to transfer to the jurisdiction of the new church structure.
On February 13, 2019, Metropolitan Mark (Petrovtsy) of Khust and Vinogradov, given the fact that Protopriest Mikhail made the decision to go to the OCU, banned him from serving in the canonical Church. However, the priest who was banned in the ministry refused to return the signed antimension to the UOC hierarch (antimension is consecrated linen, signed by the ruling bishop of a particular diocese with a sewn particle of relics of an Orthodox martyr, where the Liturgy is performed; if there is no possibility to serve on the Throne, antimension can be used instead – UOJ). Protopriest Mikhail, who had passed to the OCU, explained his refusal to return the holy item which did not belong to him personally with the fact that he purportedly “owes nothing to anyone”.
About 20 local residents who remained faithful to the canonical Church were thus left without spiritual guidance.
In light of the current situation, a group of 15 believers of the UOC of Veliky Bychkov town appealed to the head of the village of Joseph Bozhuk with a request to allow them to pray in the territory of the old cemetery, where there is a memorial cross and there have been no graves for a long time. Bozhuk agreed.
On Sunday, the clergy of the district and two UOC archimandrites, together with the parishioners who had lost their church, gathered at the local cemetery to have the liturgy. However, supporters of the OCU blocked the entrance to the territory of the churchyard.
The service of the liturgy by believers of the UOC was accompanied by shouts and obscene language from the activists of the new church structure. As soon as the fighters for the "unity of the churches of Ukraine" and "peaceful transitions" under the jurisdiction of the OCU, heard the words of the Gospel reading during the divine service of the canonical Church, "Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer" (1 John 3: 5), they immediately began shouting accusations toward the parishioners who had lost their temple. People were accused of “praying for the Russian world.”
“You stole our history!”, “Pack your suitcase and go to Russia”, “Shame on you!” shouted “believers” of the new church structure, who for some reason preferred organizing an action at the cemetery to attending a “worship” of the OCU.
The UOJ reminds that the UOC informed where to call in case of violation of the rights of the episcopate, clergy, laity and institutions of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (obstruction of worship, seizure of temples, provocations and pressure, threats, etc.). In the event of any violations of the rights of believers, one must immediately report to the Law Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by phone: 097-537-55-96.
On December 28, 2018, at the time of the diocesan clergy meeting of the Kiev eparchy, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufriy of Kiev and All Ukraine also urged the clergy of the UOC in the event of pressure from the authorities to contact the Law Department of the Church. "Let me you’re your attention! If any illegal actions are committed at the parishes or monasteries within your jurisdiction or you become aware of the interference of unauthorized persons in the community’s church life, you should immediately report such cases to the Law Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” said His Beatitude Onufriy.