A church house is seized in Pogreby: tear gas and police inaction

Pepper spray. Photo: Ibis

During the raider attack, an OCU activist sprayed tear gas directly into the eyes of the security office causing a serious eye burn.

On June 11, 2019, supporters of the new church structure seized the church house of the religious community of the Holy Dormition temple of the UOC in the village of Pogreby, Kiev region, and a security officer suffered during the seizure, told Archpriest Alexei Nosenko, head of the Legal Department of Borispol Eparchy, to the UOJ correspondent.

According to the clergyman, at 5 pm, about 40 activists of the OCU approached the church house and pushed the guards, who were on duty there according to the security services agreement.

Already on the street, one of the “believers” of the new church structure sprayed tear gas directly into the eyes of a security guard. Law enforcement officers who were a meter away did not detain the offender, but later noted that they had a DVR and therefore, would easily identify him.

“At first, the police were just present, they were called right away. When the gas was sprayed in the face of the security company employee, the police stood a meter away but did not detain the offender. When the guards were pushed out of the church territory, the UOC supportes were not allowed to enter and got separated,” Archpriest Alexei shared with the journalist.

He added that the UOC parishioners gradually began to flock to the scene of the incident, but no more than 20 people gathered there. Members of the religious community of the canonical Church could not get into the territory of the church house they had owned before.

The conflict lasted for about 2 hours. The injured security officer filed a police report. Later it became known that the man received a serious burn of his right eye as a result of an attack by the OCU activist and is now undergoing treatment. The eye of the victim practically does not open.

Archpriest Alexei said that the issue of the religious affiliation of the community of the Holy Dormition temple is being considered in court, and at the moment representatives of the OCU have no rights to either the church or the church house.

“The religious conflict in the village of Pogreby has been going on since the beginning of February 2019. Adherents of the OCU grabbed the Holy Dormition temple. The religious community of the canonical Church filed a lawsuit, and now the case is pending. The issue of the community ownership by the court has not yet been considered,” said the head of the Legal Department of Borispol Eparchy.

Recall, on February 2, 2019, in the village of Pogreby, Brovary district, Kiev region, at the village council meeting hall, villagers voted “unanimously” to transfer the UOC community to the jurisdiction of the newly created religious organization. According to official data, more than 2 thousand people live in the village. At the same time, about a hundred local residents registered to participate in the meeting. Calling themselves the “Orthodox community of the temple”, the participants of the gathering voted to transfer the only Orthodox temple in the village to the new Ukrainian church structure.

On March 17, 2019, representatives of the territorial community, who are not parishioners of the Holy Dormition temple of the UOC, voted on the “transfer” to the OCU and entered the church during the service. Arriving at the scene, the police led everyone out of the temple. Since then, the believers of the canonical Church are forced to pray on the street near their own temple.

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