Eyewitness details seizure of UOC church in the village of Chetvertnia
Under the pretext of an inventory, a drunken crowd pushed aside parishioners and cut locks; the believers were accused of stealing icons and threatened with arrest.
One of the parishioners of the Saviour Transfiguration Church of the UOC in the village of Chetvertnia of the Manevichi district, Volyn region, spoke about the details of the seizure of the temple belonging to the canonical Church by OCU activists.
“In the morning we began to gather in the church because we were informed that a commission should come from Lutsk and that the church would be transferred to the ownership of the OCU. The Orthodox believers, both the old who could hardly walk and the young, came from all over the village. We stood under the temple and prayed when a gang of people began to gather a little 100 meters from the temple. I can’t name them otherwise. Because most of them were drunk and inadequate,” the eyewitness said on the “Pravblog” Telegram-channel.
According to the parishioner of the temple, supporters of the newly created religious organization sang the anthem of Ukraine and shouted: “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to heroes!". The crowd was led by the village head Olga Makhnovets.
When the members of the inventory commission from the Lutsk Museum of the Volyn Icon approached the church, the OCU activists said that they needed to take an inventory and check if the rector of the church had stolen anything.
“We stood on the threshold under the temple. Our people said to the commission that in the current situation no one would open anything without court decisions. They insisted but we stood our ground. Then a crowd of drunk, strong men moved on us. They pushed and shouted that “Muscovites” should be driven out and there was nothing to talk about,” the witness of the incident continued his story.
A drunken crowd began to throw people away from the temple doors.
“We both cried and begged but can we talk about anything with the drunk?” added the parishioner of the Saviour Transfiguration Church.
The activists of the OCU took from the bell tower the grinder they had brought in advance and cut the locks on the front door and in the forechurch. Law enforcement officials who were present remained indifferent to everything that was happening, according to the eyewitness.
“They went to the temple with a commission. No one of the UOC representatives came in. They described it there for more than an hour. When they left, they said: "Everything is in its place and even more." There is one icon that is not on their list. Then the commission and the police went to the bell tower. They wrote something there; after that they went out and began to read out. This time they said, “Almost everything is there, only one Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God of 70 × 50 cm is missing,” reported the parishioner of the Saviour Transfiguration Church.
The church community of the UOC did not get an answer to the question why the conclusions of the inventory commission had changed so dramatically.
“The commission has left, and we all eventually dispersed. They applauded and shouted: "Shame!" And their "priest" told our elder and Fr. Seraphim (rector of the Saviour Transfiguration Church Archpriest Serafim Simonovich – Ed.) that someone would go to jail for it,” recalled the parishioner of the seized church.
He noted that the OCU activists promised not to stop until they expelled the clergyman of the UOC from the village.
“I want to add more. They said they would not calm down until they expelled the “Russian” priest from the village, despite the fact that he was born in vlg. Chetvertnia and has been living in his own house for 10 years. And we have never seen such police inaction. The National Guard that arrived even stood 500-600 meters from the temple,” the eyewitnesses concluded.
We recall that on August 20, 2019, in the village of Chetvertnia, a commission consisting of officials from the Volyn Regional State Administration, accompanied by the police, “handed over” the Transfiguration Church of the UOC to local supporters of the OCU.