Activists of OCU seize the UOC temple in vlg. Mashcha for a second time
Law enforcement officials and the Chairman of Kostopol Regional State Administration helped the followers of the new church structure seize the UOC temple.
On January 20, 2020, at about 11 a.m., local supporters of the OCU cut locks on the doors of St. John the Theologian temple in the village of Mashcha, Kostopol District, and seized it.
The UOJ correspondent visited the scene and talked with the witnesses of the incident, who said that the police and the chairman of the Kostopol Regional State Administration, Alexander Koval, helped the activists of the new religious organization take over the village temple.
Local residents suggested that the raiders had agreed on the seizure with the law enforcement officials during the picket held by Kostopol district police department this morning.
The police blocked access to the territory of the temple, and the process was led by the chairman of Kostopol Regional State Administration Alexander Koval, who just a month ago during the round table assured that the temple was under his personal protection until he received an official response from the Ministry of Justice regarding the legality of the documents submitted by both religious communities.
“After the picket, the police arrived at the church premises; our temple guards were closed in cars and interrogated, so the OCU activists had free access to cut locks. They wanted to beat the rector who had come to the church. The priest managed to escape reprisal by hiding in the house of his parishioner,” Archpriest Viktor Zemlianoy, Head of the Interfaith Settlement Department at Sarny Diocese of the UOC, told the employee of the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
According to the parishioners of the temple, there was no chance to defend the shrine, since many unauthorized persons from other settlements came to assist the invaders and behaved very harshly and impudently.
The OCU activists entrusted the captured temple to the protection of law enforcement officials.
For the first time, adherents of the new church structure seized the temple in Mascha on November 9, 2019, at about 8 a.m.
In December 2019, the community of the UOC in Mashcha returned the seized temple and established continual watch on it. After that, the police blocked St. John the Theological temple, and the religious community of the canonical Church could no longer perform divine services in it.
On December 16, the next day, the church was sealed allegedly for the period of settlement of the church dispute.
On the night of January 2 to 3, 2020, two dozen young men from among the OCU supporters with bats attacked four UOC believers who were on duty at St. John the Theologian church in Mashcha. Bruises, dislocations, broken heads and a lot of blood – this is how the activists of the OCU dealt with the young people guarding the temple. At that time, the police were hiding in the car.
On January 4, 2020, unknown people threw a container with a combustible mixture into the courtyard of the UOC priest in Mashcha.