In Galuzintsy, radicals beat priest and police while storming UOC temple

St. Michael’s Church in the village of Galuzintsy. Photo: UOJ

In Galuzintsy, several people, including a priest and police officers, were injured by the right-wing radicals, attempting to seize the church of the UOC.

On August 11, 2019, in the village of Galuzintsy of the Derazhnia district, Khmelnitsky region, a group of radicals attacked an Orthodox priest and representatives of the local police while trying to seize the church.

As the source of the UOJ said, on August 10, Orthodox believers in the village of Galuzintsy found out that radicals from the regional center, as well as some residents of the village, were preparing the seizure of the Orthodox St. Michael’s Church.

The formal reason for the seizure was the unlawful re-registration of the church from the UOC to the OCU. The fact is that on February 11, 2019, a meeting of the religious community of the temple in the amount of 80 people, held by the rector Alexander Goncharuk, decided to stay in the canonical Church.

At the same time, the territorial community, which held its meetings in the club on February 23 and 27, 2019, decided to move to the OCU. The source of the UOJ claims that the main instigators of this “transfer” were two Catholic women who have nothing to do with the Orthodox Church.

One of them – Dydova Miroslava Vladislavovna – works as the deputy chief of the district town of Derazhnia, the other one – Sivak Oksana Vasilyevna worked as the deputy of Ulyana Suprun in the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.

At Candlemas on February 15, 2019, representatives of the territorial community attempted to disrupt the service and seize the temple. However, believers managed to defend the church.

Later, the church community challenged the results of the meeting of the territorial community of the village on the transfer to the OCU in court. Meanwhile, waiting for a court verdict, it was decided to seal the temple.

But, as it became known later, the Holy Archangel Michael Church was unlawfully re-registered to the OCU, which was the reason for the attempt to seize it on August 11.

According to the source of the UOJ, at 7 o’clock in the morning, Orthodox believers gathered in the temple for prayer. During the reading of the akathist, closer to 9 a.m., representatives of the OCU began to gather near the temple. Later, five people came from the radical organization "Phoenix" from Khmelnitsky, who immediately came into conflict with believers.

According to the interlocutor of the UOJ, "Phoenix" is a paramilitary, nationalist organization, which is funded by some local politicians.

The “Phoenix” members are mainly athletes, among whom there is also the bronze medalist of the European Boxing Championship Pavel Gula. At the moment, Pavel Gula is doing military service in the 8th Special Forces Regiment on the territory of Khmelnitsky, and, therefore, how he appeared in Galuzintsy is not known.

The head of “Phoenix”, Viktor Burlyk, who, according to the UOJ source, refused to be drafted into the army and did not join the ATO, was also present in Galuzintsy.  It was Burlyk who instigated the conflict.

ГThe head of “Phoenix” Viktor Burlyk (in the centre)

Besides Gula, Arthur Ananiev, who, in fact, provoked a confrontation, was noticed near the Orthodox church in Galuzintsy. Ananiev struck the priest in the cheekbone, after which a fight broke out, during which women and several policemen were injured.

The radicals, with knives and grinders in their hands, tried to break through to the temple but were stopped by believing women and several representatives of the Orthodox brotherhood in honor of the Monks Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves, who arrived to support the community.

In addition, an eyewitness to the events in Galuzintsy testified that the police proved to be true professionals and really protected ordinary believers and the Law of Ukraine from unbridled radicals.

The total number of UOC believers was initially 20–25, while there were about a hundred representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and only in the afternoon, Orthodox Christians arrived from neighboring villages and parishes. In the end, the radicals withdrew, and the temple was defended.

Earlier, the UOJ wrote that on March 27, 2019, the Khmelnitsky court ordered the authorized persons of the Derazhnia and Letichev Police Departments of the GUNP in the Khmelnitsky region to enter in the Unified Register of Pre-trial Investigations information on a criminal offense against St. Michael's religious community of the UOC of the village of Galuzintsy of the Derazhnia region, Khmelnitsky region,  on the basis of a statement from the rector of the religious community of St. Michael’s Church Archpriest Alexander Goncharuk, dated February 28, 2019. The court decision is not subject to appeal.

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