Eyewitnesses report seizure of UOC temple in Vapnyarka

Church of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called in the urban village of Vapnyarka

In Vapnyarka, Vinnitsa region, OCU activists, in violation of agreements with the UOC community, cut off the locks and seized the temple in the presence of the police.

As the parishioners told the UOJ, to prevent the seizure of the temple, the religious community of the Church of St. Andrew the First-Called in the urban village of Vapnyarka of the Tomashpol district, Vinnitsa region, has agreed with OCU supporters that both sides will have their keys to the church and temporarily not hold services. But activists of the OCU violated the agreement and seized the temple.

At the beginning of March, a banned cleric of the village of Kolodenka, adjacent to Vapnyarka, declared his “patriotic” position and transfer to the OCU. Supporters of the new structure initiated a meeting of the territorial community in Vapnyarka, “inspired” by the example of Kolodenka.

The meeting of the territorial community was attended by the rector of the temple in Vapnyarka and the UOC clergy whose opinion was ignored. The rector was given "the time to think and make a decision on moving to the OCU".

In turn, the rector of the UOC church, Father Joseph, gathered members of the religious community, regular church-goers. The community made a general decision not to transfer to the OCU and decided not to attend the village meeting.

On the Week of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, Metropolitan Agapit of Mogilev-Podolsky and Shargorod and the clergy of the region arrived in the village. The activists, led by “Father” Alexey, by that time already promoted to the rank of the OCU “dean” and a “monk” of the UOC KP, urged them to go to the OCU, threatening with the arrival of several buses with “titushki” (tough guys).

The UOC service was planned to be held in the courtyard of the church, but activists blocked all entrances, and it was decided to perform a liturgy in front of the old church. When conducting the service, activists organized provocations, hung out “the ATO flag” and scoffed at the believers.

A few days later, activists, under the pretext of “not allowing the UOC community to take anything out of the church,” and referring to the decision of the meeting of the territorial community, demanded to give the keys to the church. Later, a joint decision was made to change the locks so that both sides would have one key each and not be able to enter the temple until the matter is resolved in court. The agreement stipulated that there would be two people on both sides and representatives of the police when changing the locks.

The next day, activists, violating the agreement, cut off and replaced the locks in the temple. The police were present on the scene, recording the whole process on camera, but did not prevent the unlawfulness.

The UOJ editorial board reminds: 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.), one should immediately contact the Legal Department of the UOC on the phone: 097- 537-55-96.

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