Vinnitsa RSA threatens UOC with inspections and power cut

Metropolitan Jonathan (Eletskikh) of Tulchin and Bratslav

At a meeting with the UOC hierarchs, the authorities of Vinnitsa reported on inspections and electricity and gas cut off unless they change the name in their statutes.

The details of the meeting of the hierarchs of the UOC with the leadership of the Vinnitsa Regional State Administration were told by Metropolitan Jonathan of Tulchin and Bratslav.

He stressed that the group of reputable Vinnitsa clergymen, who accompanied the bishops, was not allowed into the office of the chairman of Vinnitsa Regional State Administration Valery Korovy. The priests were forced to stand in the waiting room at the door of the office of the RSA head for about three hours.

Metropolitan Jonathan says: the chairman of the Regional State Administration threatened the ruling bishops that, if they do not amend the statutes of diocesan administrations with state re-registration (and with a changed name), they can be turned off power supply and gas.

"Probably due to artificial "freezing" of bank payment transactions. It is not excluded they might turn off water supply then – ostensibly for “payment failure”, which could provoke dangerous unsanitary conditions in public places,” His Eminence suggested.

He believes, “Thus, we are talking about dispatching the UOC diocesan administrations into an “artificial coma”, about practical artificial blockade of the UOC diocesan administration centers, allegedly for “unpaid” supplies of light, heat and water to the UOC diocesan administrations and Sunday children’s school classes based there."

In turn, Igor Saletsky, the head of the Office for Nationalities and Religions of Vinnitsa Regional State Administration, warned the bishops about the post-Easter inspections of the activities of the UOC diocesan administrations “on compliance with the norms of their internal by-laws”. The official suggested that the hierarchs, within the deadlines determined by the Verkhovna Rada, should re-register statutes of their diocesan administrations and also recommended they'd better go to courts of Vinnitsa region in matters of the seizure of the UOC temples rather than to Vinnitsa Regional State Administration.

In addition, when during the meeting the hierarchs of the UOC showed the RSA head a photo of the Sobor magazine published by Trostianets district council of Vinnitsa region with offensive texts addressed to the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, the official “made a helpless gesture” and did not see any violation of the law.

Commenting on his refusal to meet with Metropolitan Jonathan, allegedly because of “untruthful” information in one of his interviews, the official admitted that the information was distorted but he refused to publicly refute the “lie” of the journalist.

"After the meeting, the offended Vinnitsa priests crowded around Valery Korovy, who appeared in the reception office of the chairman of the Vinnitsa Regional State Administration, asking him the question, "Why, on what basis, being the regional representative of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, you publicly call us, citizens and patriots of Ukraine, "the fifth column "(of Russia)?" Mr. Korovy instructed Mr. Saletsky to answer the delicate question and hastily withdrew in an unknown direction,” writes in conclusion the Metropolitan.

As the UOJ reported, on February 22, 2019, Metropolitan Agapit (Bevtsik) of Mogilev-Podolsky and Shargorod, Archbishop Varsonofy (Stoliar) of Vinnitsa and Bar and Bishop Sergiy (Anitsa) of Ladyzhin, Vicar of the Tulchin Diocese, met with Valery Korovy, the head of Vinnitsa Regional State Administration and Igor Saletsky, the head of the Office for Nationalities and Religions of Vinnitsa Regional State Administration. Representatives of the local authorities promised to consider those cases of violation of the rights and freedoms of believers, which the hierarchs of the canonical Church had notified them about.

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