Ternopol believers ask President to protect them against arbitrary rule

Believers of Stenka village addressed President Vladimir Zelensky with a video message. Photo: Screen from Youtube

Believers of Stenka village addressed President Vladimir Zelensky with a request to protect them against church raiders and raider-backing local authorities.

On June 17, 2019, the community of the church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos in Stenka village, Ternopol region, recorded a video message to President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky asking him to ensure the rule of law and respect for their fundamental right to freedom of religion. This was reported by UNN.

“Dear President of Ukraine Vladimir Alexandrovich,” said priest Vasily Moisiuk in the video posted on Youtube. “Today, the religious community of the church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church appeals to you to seek your particular assistance. The local self-government bodies of the village, district and regional councils, having united with the representatives of the OCU and other confessions based in the village, in particular, the Greek Catholic community, deprived us of the opportunity to attend and pray in our temple.”

The priest stressed that he and the congregation he represents are patriots of Ukraine and want peace and tranquility in the state, as well as respect for the law.

“We want to live in a state with a rule of law so that the law be enforced not only in relation to us, but also be executed by all citizens of Ukraine, as well as by all religious organizations,” concluded the cleric.

Recall, on January 31, 2019, a meeting of residents of Stenka village was held, at which the territorial community made a decision to transfer to the OCU. Representatives of other confessions voted for the decision on the “transition” too.

Pressure on believers of the UOC in the village of Stenka, Buchach District, Ternopol Oblast, has been going on for some years. In March 2015, representatives of the Right Sector stepped up agitation in order to discredit the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Provocateurs at the village council actively incited inter-church conflict, stirring up the population to violence against believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in particular, the rector of the local church. Extremists in the ultimatum form forced them to change their confessional affiliation and spread anti-church propaganda, which was actively promoted by the priest of the UGCC.

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