Again raiding: UOC temple being seized in Chernovtsy region

The seizure by OCU activists of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul Church in the village of Zavoloka

The headman of the village called the rector and threatened: if he did not give the church keys and property, they would be taken away by force.

On May 24, 2019, in the village of Zavoloka of the Chernovtsy region, the OCU activists began the seizure of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul Church of the UOC, as reported on the Chernovtsy Eparchy's Facebook page.

The headman of the village Zakhariy Shevchuk personally called the rector of the church, Archimandrite Juvenal, and demanded that he should hand over the keys to the church and all church property. In case of the refusal, Shevchuk threatened to take everything by force.

The village headman said that all documents of the community of the canonical Church had allegedly lost their legal force. He insists on the inventory of the property and says that the church allegedly no longer belongs to the UOC religious community.

“I will not go to hell,” Archimandrite Juvenal answered the entreaties of the raiders who tried to convince him to go to the OCU.

According to the secretary of the eparchy, Archimandrite Nikita (Storozhuk), only the court can determine whose documents are valid and whose documents are falsified. Moreover, since 1995 there has not yet been any doubt about the validity of documents of the religious community.

While on May 23, 2019, during the eparchial cross procession in defense of the rights of UOC believers, the governor of the Chernovtsy region Mikhail Pavliuk promised that the churches would no longer be seized, the “new masters” of the Sts. Peter and Paul parish came to the church with the order to forcefully reregister the community to the OCU and blocked entry into it.

“We remind you that yesterday, in the presence of bishops and priests, the deputy of the Chernovtsy Regional Council received instructions from the regional governor to warn the village headman Zakhariy Ivanovich about the inadmissibility of such actions on his part,” the eparchy official said.

During the seizure, the OCU activists even allowed themselves to smoke on church grounds and did not react to the remarks of believers that this is unacceptable.

On May 23, 2019, with the blessing of Metropolitan Meletii of Chernovtsy and Bukovina, the all-eparchial cross procession in defense of the UOC was held in Chernovtsy. Gathering at the Holy Spirit Cathedral of Chernovtsy, the clergy and believers led by the ruling bishop of the Chernovtsy-Bukovina Eparchy walked in the cross procession to the Chernovtsy Regional State Administration to join the 24-hour prayer standing of the parishioners of the seized church in the village of Tovtry, which has been lasting for 6 days. 

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