OCU and UOC KP fighting for Nativity church in Odessa. Tear gas in action

Church of the Nativity of Christ in Paster Street in Odessa. Photo: OCU

In Odessa, during the conflict around the cathedral, OCU supporters blocked it, called the police and sprayed gas against members of the UOC-KP who tried to get inside.

On June 25, 2019 in Odessa Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ, which had been seized from the former UOC-KP "priest" Vitaly Senik by "bishop" Pavel Yuristy of Odessa and Balta, a conflict broke out during which supporters of the OCU sprayed gas against the parishioners of the UOC-KP. The video of the conflict was posted on Facebook by the husband of one of the parishioners.

In one of the videos, a parishioner of the UOC-KP, who called herself Neonila Tkachenko, tells that the priests and activists of the OCU removed the sign of the UOC-KP and installed their doors in the cathedral. When she tried to get inside the temple, according to her, “priest” of the OCU Yaroslav Briginets sprayed gas into her face, after which she turned for medical aid. The cathedral is now under the police guard.

Neonila Tkachenko addresses in the video representatives of the Diaspora and says, “This is for you not to think that there is no struggle for the Kiev Patriarchate. There is a very serious level of confrontation and, unfortunately, a complete lack of understanding of these processes by the authorities.”

The senior priest of the UOC-KP of this temple, Vitaly Senik, claims that Filaret appointed him temporary chancellor of Odessa-Balta Eparchy of the Kiev Patriarchate and he has legal rights to be in the building. Regarding the "bishop" of the OCU Pavel Yuristy, Vitaly Senik reports that he employed "as subdeacons two guys of a vague sexual orientation so they are living there. This is how they are looking for the Kingdom of God.”

Later in the evening, another incident took place near the cathedral, during which another activist of the OCU, a notorious member of the Right Sector Todor Panovsky, used tear gas against the parishioners.

After repeated indignant statements made by the UOC-KP parishioner, who was present on the spot, the police detained Panovsky.

The parishioners of the UOC-KP claim that “bishop” Pavel Yuristy has illegally seized and kept the Cathedral for 6 months, as well as inappropriately used the premises of the diocesan administration in which he lives. For this reason, supporters of the UOC-KP came out to the rally in front of the Cathedral. They said that they were going to continue the action until their demands were met.

As the UOJ reported, previously Todor Panovsky lobbied the interests of the Kiev Patriarchate. In particular, in 2016, he intimidated and pressured the deputies of Belgorod-Dnestrovsky city council to allocate two land plots to the UOC KP.

Recall, the press service of the Odessa “eparchy” of the OCU reported that on the night of June 24-25, 2019, “priest” of the UOC-KP Vitaly Senik tried to seize the Cathedral in Odessa, which representatives of both "churches" consider their own.

"Priest" Vitaly Senik, who lost to "bishop of Odessa and Balta" Pavel (born Vasily Yuristy) in the fight for the head of the Cathedral of the UOC-KP in Odessa, was banned from priesthood.

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