Residents of Kruty village announce “transition” of UOC parish to OCU

“Priest” of the OCU Sergey Chubchenko and the OCU activists after the meeting of the territorial community of Kruty village. Photo: Facebook

On July 6, 2019, members of the territorial community of Kruty village of Chernigov region voted for the “canonical affiliation” of the local religious community to OCU.

Residents of the village who took part in the illegal voting, held with the active support of the local candidate from the VO “Svoboda” (Freedom – Ed.), Vladimir Briukhovetsky, are not regular parishioners of St. Michael’s temple, do not know elementary Orthodox prayers and are guided solely by political motives, noted in their plot journalists from Klymenko Time.

"The so-called ‘transition of the parish’ occurred with a clear violation of the law,” the authors of the plot emphasized. “Because according to the law, such a transition can occur ONLY by decision of the local RELIGIOUS, but not the local community. It means – by the decision of the parishioners who regularly go to this particular temple. This was not done. Moreover, at the time of the fake meeting, almost the entire religious community, headed by the local rector, Archpriest Vasily Vilkhovetsky, was praying in the temple at that moment.”

The journalists had the opportunity to see for themselves that the participants in the meeting of the territorial community – 119 people, 114 of whom voted "in favor" of joining the OCU, "do not attend the temple on a regular basis, do not know the key prayers of Orthodoxy, and came to the meeting only having political motives."

“I don’t particularly delve into the service but they sing in Russian there and we need to sing in Ukrainian,” said one of the participants in the meeting, who, judging by her confusing answers, does not understand very well what jurisdiction she came to vote for: OCU or UOC KP.

The meeting was also attended by several believers of the canonical UOC, who came to verify the illegality of this vote and remained at the event despite protests and allegations against them from the OCU activists.

“Personally, I came here to make sure that the meeting of the non-religious community is taking place here, because the religious community is the people who go to church,” said a UOC parishioner, “And I heard one old woman saying she doesn’t know prayers at all. The priest performs services in the Old Slavonic language. I have known these people from birth; they do not go to church. Therefore, today there is no meeting of the religious community and I am here to see it with my own eyes so that everybody knows the truth. <...> Politics and the Church are different things; people just do not realize this. I will continue to go to my church. If they take away the building, then they will probably have to build some new one. Why they themselves will not build a church – I do not know. Build your temple, create yourself a place where you will pray, and perhaps, you will give us an example of how it should be.”

The meeting was attended by 119 supporters of the new church structure. The “priest” of the OCU, Sergei Chubchenko, noted that the meeting of the religious community in Kruty had been announced in advance and it was not clear why most of the residents of the village ignored it. Nevertheless, as a result of this event, it was decided to re-register the religious community's statute, which, according to the authors of the plot, allows local right-wing radicals to attack the temple and seize it.

“Nobody will expel anyone,” added Chubchenko. “The fact is that in 2014, civil society originated in Ukraine. And this idea of civil society pervades all spheres of the life of Ukrainians, both in politics and in the Church. Such transitions occur because people pursue self-identification in this way.”

We will remind that earlier the chairman of VO Svoboda faction in Bakhmach District Council and candidate to MP of  Ukraine in a single-mandate electoral district No. 209, Vladimir Briukhovetsky, invited everyone in the social network to “liquidate the next Moscow checkpoint” in Kruty. Together with the head of Chernigov regional organization of All-Ukrainian Association Svoboda Denis Popov, he warned the head of Nezhin police department Vladimir Boyko about plans to transfer the church to the OCU at a meeting of the territorial community. To his invitation, Briukhovetsky attached a document on the VO Svoboda letterhead, which was signed by Maxim Vertiuk, a deputy head of Nezhin district organization of this association. The paper says that an “action” in support of the OCU will be held with the participation of VO Svoboda and nearly 400 people.

As the UOJ reported, on June 1, 2019, in the village of Kruty, representatives of the Kiev Patriarchate and several people, who did not attend church services, tried to pass themselves off as St. Michael's community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and announced a meeting where they wanted to transfer the church to the UOC KP. One of the provocateurs had the documents he had concocted in advance for the transfer of the religious community to the Kiev Patriarchate. However, hundreds of believers of St. Michael’s community thwarted the provocation, and in order to put an end to the provocations they held an open meeting of the parish on the same day to confirm their loyalty to the UOC.

After that, the head of the Department for Religions and Nationalities of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, Andrei Yurash, compared the actual parishioners of the religious community of St. Michael’s church to the “ant hordes” and declared that Kruty was again waiting for Kiev students who would become fighters against the “church imperial past”.

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