“Right Sector” and UOC KP “cleric” grab the temple in Gnezdychno
The OCU supporters, contrary to the agreements, had a “divine service” in the temple and then, to the cries "Muscovites are not to be here”, beat up the UOC believers.
On March 3, 2019, adherents of the “holy church of Ukraine”, with the help of fighters from the Right Sector, seized the Holy Transfiguration temple in the village of Gnezdychno, Zbarazh district of Ternopol region. Believers of the canonical Church, who entered the temple for negotiations, were beaten and driven out into the street. According to the UOC Information and Education Department, the whole process was led by the scandalous “cleric” of the UOC KP Ivan Lesik.
“Our people were simply thrown out of the church into the street,” said Protopriest Stephan Balan, the parish priest, who was hospitalized after previous clashes with the OCU supporters, commented on the situation.
He explained that the OCU community had once again violated the agreement and provoked a conflict in the village, having performed a divine service in the temple premises.
“A month ago, when the OCU representatives ”failed to take possession of the temple, they demanded that, in order to preserve peace in the village, the services would be held alternately on the street, while the temple would be sealed, but they had the keys to the temple, the cleric said. “Today, their community, headed by pseudo-father Ivan Lesik, for the third time violated its own conditions, opened a sealed church, and began to perform “worship”. When, upon completion of the service, our believers came to the temple and asked to give an opportunity for the UOC community to hold a service in the temple, they were flatly denied.”
According to the testimony of Father Stefan, this time supporters of the new Ukrainian Church used physical force toward the UOC believers. They were helped by 15-20 fighters from the “Right Sector” who blocked the temple while negotiations were taking place in it.
“There was such a situation that there were about 30 members of the UOC religious community, the entire OCU community, part of the Right Sector and the police in the temple. After the shouting and turmoil, supporters of the OCU, led by the pseudo-priest Lesik, began to beat and throw out the UOC believers to the cries “Muscovites are not to be here”, the senior priest of the Holy Transfiguration temple said.
The press service of the UOC stressed that the incident with the beating of innocent people shows how insecure the UOC believers are in the situation of the gravest violation of their rights and freedoms.
As the UOJ reported, on February 3, 2019, activists staged a provocation and thwarted the Divine Liturgy in the Holy Transfiguration temple in the village of Gnezdychno, Zbarazh district of Ternopol region. The police sided with the radicals.