It is known how the President’s meeting with UOC believers came off
The clergy and believers of Rovno Eparchy of the UOC reported to the President facts about the systematic violation of their constitutional rights by the OCU activists.
On September 10, 2019, President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky met with parishioners of the UOC, the details of this meeting became known to the UOJ correspondent.
The believers greeted the head of state with bread and salt, which they had baked for the President themselves and gifted him with on an embroidered towel.
“We are pleased to welcome you to our Rovno land. We baked this bread with our own hands. We ask you to protect our Church and support us, because we have no one to turn to for protection. We are exiles, we serve ‘in the bushes’,” an elderly parishioner of the Rovno diocese addressed Zelensky.
The President took the bread from her hands and asked to give him the papers the believers had prepared on the occasion of the meeting. In the documents, residents of the Rovno region spoke about cases of egregious violations of their constitutional right to freedom of religion.
“Vladimir Alexandrovich, I am a parishioner of the church in a military hospital here in Rovno. The parishioners built this temple, but today we are not let to go there. They do it because there are orders "from above". All the military are in favor of having a church if it were not for orders from the top ...,” another parishioner of the Rovno eparchy shared with the head of state. “Your predecessor issued amendments to the law, according to which we should not be allowed into the territory of the hospital. Among our parishioners are ATO participants and military personnel. We have been unable to enter the temple since January, which was built with our own hands.”
The President asked the clergy and believers to calm down, not to cry, and to supply their contacts.
“I beg you, please, let's not cry, let's calm down. You tell us about your problems in writing and we will sort them out,” he said.
The head of state also introduced to people a new governor of the Rovno Region.
“The new governor, Koval Vitaliy Stanislavovich <...> Look, there is a governor, from today he starts working, you can make appointments with him,” he said to the representatives of the UOC.
Among the clergy, the meeting was also attended by Bishop Pimen (Voyat) of Dubno and Archpriest Viktor Zemlianoy, head of the Department for the Settlement of Interfaith Conflicts at the Rovno Eparchy of the UOC.
“Impressions are good – they came up to us and wanted to hear us. Brothers and sisters, we never need to be afraid of what is being imposed on us. There is truth and there is a law. We need to live in truth and in law. And then everything being imposed on us will crumble to dust,” Vladyka Pimen addressed the flock after the meeting. “We must be worthy citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven in the first place, and our land. And we are. We are Ukrainians, and we are the first to meet the President here on the Rovno land. We are Ukrainians, and on our land we do not want to be outcasts and we will not. It is necessary to pray that the Lord will help."
Recall that Vladimir Zelensky met with believers of the UOC at the Rovno airport, where he had arrived on a working visit specifically to introduce a new head of the Rovno Regional State Administration. About 200 believers and 30 clergymen from the Rovno and Sarna Eparchies of the canonical Church gathered at the entrance to the international airport.