Supporters of OCU leave seized church of UOC in Riasniki to shouts “Shame!”

Representatives of the OCU leaving the seized church of the UOC in Riasniki. Photo: a video screen

The invaders held the Holy Protection сhurch in Riasniki for 6 hours.

On November 23, at 11:00, a few hours after the seizure of the Holy Protection Church of the UOC in the village of Riasniki of the Goshcha district, Rovno region, the police obliged the activists of the OCU together with their "priests" to leave the church, reports a UOJ correspondent.

Immediately after the seizure, local residents, who came to the church, called the police and representatives of the Rovno Eparchy of the UOC.

“I arrived at about 9 o’clock, it was crowded, our people, along with several priests from neighbouring villages, prayed in the narthex, the police didn’t let them in, saying that another community was praying there,” said Archpriest Viktor Zemlianoy, head of the Department for Interfaith Conflict Resolution at the Rovno Eparchy of the UOC. “To be honest, this time I was surprised by the behavior of the police – how could law enforcers protect the church raiders who not only cut the locks but pulled out the doors and threw them under our people's feet?”

According to eyewitnesses, the situation was tense. Believers of the UOC called officials of all levels to come to the seized church and help resolve the conflict. However, neither the regional nor district leadership arrived at the scene of the incident.

“Our people were very tense, so we decided to break into the church by force,” added Father Viktor. “The police, seeing our perseverance, decided to go to the temple to negotiate with the breakers in order to avoid a violent confrontation.”

At about 11 o’clock, the OCU supporters, along with their “priests,” who were directly involved in the seizure of the religious building, left the walls of the Holy Protection Church under the cries “Shame!”

Bishop Pimen of Dubno, the vicar of the Rovno Eparchy of the UOC, came to support the religious community of the canonical Church. After the activists of the OCU had left the church, Vladyka read special prayers from desecration.

“They want to conquer and trample us, but we will prove that we are not conquered because first of all we will confront sin. And those who have persecuted us do not even realize that their actions bring us closer to the Kingdom of God,” Vladyka Pimen addressed the parishioners.

After the conflict was settled, the UOC believers prayed for the repose of the people who died during the Holodomor, the memorial service was led by Bishop Pimen.

As reported by the UOJ, on November 23 at 5:00 in the morning, supporters of the OCU broke down the doors of the Holy Protection Church of the village of Riasniki and went into the church, where, according to eyewitnesses, they began to perform "some kind of service".

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