One year after bashing in Baranovka: UOC parish grows, OCU has no services

Rector of the church of the Nativity of the Holy Theotokos, Archpriest Roman Klim. Photo: spzh.news

One year after the brutal attempt to seize the Orthodox church, activists of the OCU never began to worship, said priest Roman Klim.

On Forgiveness Sunday, March 1, 2020, the Orthodox community of the church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the village of Baranovka, Zhytomyr Region, remembered the anniversary of the attempt to capture the church by activists of the OCU. The UOJ correspondent spoke with the rector of the church, Archpriest Roman Klim, and found out how the religious community headed by the clergyman lives now.

“Our parish has strengthened, we have worship, we work, we perform all the services of Great Lent. The parish has grown, many people have changed their minds regarding the OCU, although those who were radically minded continue to do so,” the priest said.

From time to time, supporters of the schismatic structure secretly organize gatherings, events in order to take away the temple, but it never came to be by the grace of God. The rector connects this with the changed government and the lack of funding.

“Over the year, everything has calmed down, there are no people who would be so hostile. In the previous year, the parishioners of our church were offended and shouted on the street. Now that the funding has stopped this flak has quieted down. Our opponents are not certain what to expect from the current government.”

According to the rector, adherents of the OCU did not organize a parish – they have neither a priest nor a permanent place for prayer. In turn, about 300 people come to the church of the Nativity of the Virgin.

“They themselves do not build anything,” Fr. Roman tells us about the schismatics, “and they will not build anything, because people are unbelievers, non-practicing. Last year, during the seizure of the temple, an outdoor fountain was destoyed, although it did not bother anyone and children were happy. It means the OCU activists wanted to take away the temple not for prayer but for mockery. The head of the OCU supporters, whom they themselves chose, has never gone to the temple, he is a former communist who has nothing to do with the Church and faith. The lawyer who supported him does not belong to the Church either. I doubt that these people can even pronounce "Our Father" prayer. They have no idea why to go to church."

Despite the fact that a lot of time has passed after the tragic events in Baranovka, Father Roman speaks with pain in his voice about the events of those days.

“Since that time, I have never watched a video of the raider attempt of our temple. I cannot. Even when I fancy a picture ... I just can’t. My soul hurts so much and we have such rueful feelings ... Therefore, I pay little attention to what happened. I try to work, pray and multiply my parish with new people, make them feel happy. Over this year we have made a new iconostasis for the church – wooden, carved, and huge. People are happy, some kind of repair is being done. We ask God for help, and what awaits us – this is God’s will.

I always teach my parishioners to live in peace, to act with love. You need to love all people, even those who came to seize the temple. I have never called them bad. Their minds are darkened and so they acted. We pray and worry for them that the Lord will send them repentance and salvation and forgiveness of all their transgressions."

As reported by the UOJ, on March 10, 2019, on Forgiveness Sunday, activists of the OCU tried to storm the Orthodox church in the village of Baranovka. The believers were beaten and strangled, the nuns who had arrived from the neighboring monastery were hit with eggs, and the pectoral priestly cross was trampled into the ground by the proponents of Dumenko’s structure.

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