In Rozvazh OCU activists storm the UOC temple during the service
Eyewitnesses say that during the seizureб the OCU supporters knocked down children and women, while their “priest” cut off the lock from the church house with a mount.
On April 14, 2019, during the Sunday service, supporters of the OCU took by assault the church of Sts. Cosmas and Damian in the village of Rozvazh, Ostrog district, Rovno region. It is reported by the Information and Education Department of the UOC.
“The UOC parishioners were grabbed by the arms, hair, their clothes were torn, the children fell, they walked over the children ... no matter what,” said the parishioner Valentina. “Their “father”, Lukashik, cut off the lock on a small house on the temple grounds with a crowbar, hanged the second lock without permission, and then began waving with the crowbar. People said that either the police took the crowbar later or he himself gave it away, I did not see it because I ran away.”
The Sunday service in the church, which was attended by about a hundred parishioners of the UOC, began at 8 am, and at 9 am, in the middle of the service, supporters of the OCU burst into the temple.
“We managed to resist their first provocation. The police helped us by leading the provocateurs out and we continued our service. But they did not calm down and when they started to assault it for the second time, they simply began to beat people and throw them away from the church. This time, the police decided not to intervene and just watched our people being beaten,” says Valentina.
According to her calculations, there were about 120 people on the part of the OCU; most of them were delivered to the temple. Among the local residents, there were those who either did not go to church at all or visited once or twice a year. However, they tried to prove that they had the right to seize the temple.
“They showed us some pieces of paper that allegedly they have an OCU community registered here and they have the full right to the temple. But what right are they talking about when we, the parishioners of our church, who constantly go to it, did not make any decisions on changing the jurisdiction and gathered for a service on Sunday as usual? There were almost as many of us as they, but they reinforced their assault with people from Ostrog, while we – a real community of the UOC – were defenseless before these bandits,” said the woman.
She said that she personally called the police twice: “I said that people were being beaten but the police did not respond. I was told that their officers are there keeping order. Actually, the police were standing outside the gate, did not even enter the church, then two people came in and that’s it.”
Soon, when the UOC believers from other localities became aware of what was happening here, they began to come to the village for support but activists did not let them into the temple, locking the gates. The parishioners were blocked by an aggressive crowd of the OCU supporters.
Moreover, as eyewitnesses told one of the women, who recorded everything from the beginning to the end, somebody pulled the phone out of her pocket and deleted all the files. The parishioners suspect that the law enforcement officers themselves might have done it.
“According to the believers, the policeman was standing with that phone and then all the files turned out to have disappeared. When she wrote an application to these policemen, a few minutes later the phone was brought to her but all the files recorded had been deleted. She went to re-write an application that the files had been erased, asking to be told who had returned her phone. But it was in vain."
Having cut the locks and bashed the UOC believers, supporters of the OCU, as eyewitnesses report, applauded themselves and began to make an attachment of the property that does not belong to them.
As the UOJ reported, on February 9, 2019 in the village of Rozvazh, Ostrog district, Rovno region, farmer Petr Yagodka tried to initiate the transfer of the rural church of Saints Cosmas and Damian to the jurisdiction of the OCU. Then people decided not to haste with the transition, because they understood that all the events in the religious life of Ukraine are politically-motivated.
On March 10, 2019, a meeting of the territorial community was held in the village club of Rozvazh village at which the church issue was discussed. According to the UOC believers, the head of the farm, Petr Yagodka, fully conducted the supervision of the church issue in the village.