In Postoinoye OCU raiders make a brawl while storming UOC church house

The storming of the UOC church house in the village of Postoinoye. Photo: a video screenshot

Severe face injuries, beatings, an urgent surgery are consequences of the fight made by OCU raiders together with law enforcers while storming the UOC church house.

A torn nose, severed ears, a concussion and numerous bruises to the body — this is how OCU supporters were taking over the house in the village of Postoinoye, Rovno region, where UOC believers have been praying after the seizure of their church. Three women are hospitalized, the rest are recovering after what they have endured. Drunk villagers and law enforcement officers were involved in in the brawl.

The event took place late in the evening of June 20, 2019 in the village of Postoinoye of the Kostopol district, in the courtyard of the church house, where the OCU activists came in a drunken state, demanding that UOC faithful leave the house immediately and drive the “Moscow cassock” out from the village.

“They were waving papers, but they didn’t show them, flipped off, cursed and insulted,” recalls Valentina Shiliuk, a UOC believer. “Subsequently, they went to the gatehouse on the church grounds, where they probably drank, because after a while they returned to the gate of the house even drunker and more aggressive.”

The first clashes began, according to witnesses of the brawl, with a skirmish between the church raiders of the OCU. Self-employed businessman Vasily Zabeida started a fight with his own fellows. As a result, the police were called.

“The police arrived 10 minutes later – it’s unrealistic for such a time to cover the distance from Kostopol to Postoinoye off the road,” comments Lidia Yefimets, a UOC believer. “When law enforcers got out of the car, they were also drunk. They seemed to pull apart fighting OCU supporters first and then began to shout to us: “Go to Moscow”!

According to the villagers, the seizure of the church house in the presence of two squads of law enforcement officers began with the words: “We must take it!”. The church raiders of the OCU rushed to force on the UOC believers.
“They breathed fumes on us, beat women with their fists in the face, tore their hair, beat them in the stomach,” Valentina, a parishioner of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, said with horror. “There were about 60 of us but we could not cope with the brutal drunken crowd. We were pressured to the door of the house and the brawl began here even worse. The OCU members broke the windows, threw our men to the ground and beat them with their feet. The father came from the neighboring village to the rescue, they literally trampled on him. Our Nadia had her nose ripped off. And she was only 25, blood was gushing at the girl from the nose and the mouth. Olga Zabeida was hospitalized: she had her ear torn and was severely beaten. In the ambulance, we were worried that she could die, she lost consciousness and literally turn yellow.”

Olga Zabeida was hospitalized to the Kostopol regional hospital with a concussion and numerous bruises of the body, the woman had her ear stitched. Now she is in a serious but stable condition.

The fight at the church house ended after another police brigade arrived in the village. The OCU supporters put a lock on the church house as on their property.

According to Archpriest Alexander Malchuk, the head of the UOC religious community of the village of Postoinoye, the church conflict in the village has already been brewing for three months. First, the OCU raiders took away the church and later began to make claims to the church house. On the eve of the fight, on June 19, the OCU supporters came to the UOC believers with a new ownership right to the house.

“They brought an extract from the Unified State Register (USR), in which the religious community of the OCU is documented as the new owners of the church house, but these papers cannot be legal for several reasons,” comments Fr.  Alexander. “First, the Sarny Eparchy of the UOC, according to all official documents, has the right of ownership to the church house. There hasn’t been any court decision abolishing the right.

Secondly, the extract from the USR, registered on June 11, which the supporters of the OCU brought, is signed by the head of their religious community Stepan Zabeida as if he had received this document, but he could not do it physically because at the time of issuing Mr. Zabeid wasn’t in the village and even in Ukraine – he is working abroad."

Now the UOC faithful of Postoinoye intend to defend their legal rights in court and demand justice be done to the perpetrators of the brawl planned and organized in advance.


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