SBU officers "have a talk" with clerics of the Khust Eparchy of UOC
Protopriest Vitaly Kemin and Alexander Gasparovich were asked to hold services in the temples of the canonical Church alternately with the "clerics" of the OCU.
On March 1, 2019, employees of the local SBU department called the dean of Yasenia district of the Khust Eparchy of the UOC Protopriest Vitaly Kemin and the rector of the Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos in the village of Yasinia Protopriest Alexander Gasparovich for a "private" conversation, reports the Legal Department of the UOC.
According to Protopriest Vitaly, law enforcers who invited him recommended not to take a lawyer with them.
“This morning, at 7:50, they called me from the Security Service of Ukraine and said that they were inviting me to a conversation,” said the priest. “When I asked if this was an official invitation, they answered that the conversation was private. They also advised not to take a lawyer, as they want to to have a tete-a-tete talk.”
The priest immediately warned the SBU officers: once the conversation is unofficial, he will not sign any papers, and the content of the conversation will be reported to the head of the eparchy and the Synodal Legal Department of the UOC.
The dean was asked why the UOC clergy consider the new church structure non-canonical.
“When I replied that we did not recognize like the entire world Orthodox community, they showed exceptional knowledge in church affairs and asked what was wrong during the enthronement of Epiphany. I had to remind that there was not a single representative of the Local Orthodox Church at the ceremony, except for Constantinople,” said Protopriest Vitaly.
He told his interlocutors about the fact that OCU activists had exerted pressure on him by threatening and trying to bribe him.
"In response, they only kept silent," said the priest.
Responding to the question of the SBU officers whether he would transfer to the OCU, the cleric of the canonical Church made it clear that he would go only after His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine, Metropolitan Sergiy (Gensitsky) of Ternopol and Kremenets and Metropolitan Mark ( Petrovtsy) of Khust and Vinogradov.
According to Protopriest Vitaly, the “conversation” lasted for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
The rector of the Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos in the village of Yasinia Protopriest Alexander Gasparovich was also asked about the consent to transfer to the OCU. It turned out that the reason for communicating with the Security Service of Ukraine is the tense situation around the church he serves in.
In the SBU, the priests of the UOC were asked to agree to alternate worship services with the "clerics" of the OCU, and when they failed to reach agreement on this issue, they began to talk on more general topics.
On February 24, 2019, members of the religious community of the Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos in the village of Yasinia in Transcarpathia held a meeting, at which they reaffirmed loyalty to the UOC. Activists of the new church structure also arrived at the temple and tried to hold their own meeting. According to the dean of the Yasenia district of the Khust Eparchy of the UOC Protopriest Vitaly Kemin, there were about 100 raiders, with no more than 10 residents of the village among them. More than 400 believers in the Khust Eparchy surrounded the temple and did not let raiders into it.