Media: UOC Сhurch in Strilsk stormed by OCU activists with police inaction

14 February 18:11
Supporters of the OCU storming a UOC church in the Rivne region. Photo: a video screenshot from the “1 Kozaktv” Youtube channel. Supporters of the OCU storming a UOC church in the Rivne region. Photo: a video screenshot from the “1 Kozaktv” Youtube channel.

In an attempt to seize a church in the village of Strilsk, the raiders used violence against women and elderly people and then broke down the door of the church.

Police officers did not prevent supporters of the OCU who stormed the Pokrovsky Church in the village of Strilsk, Rivne region, from beating parishioners and breaking down the church door. A video from the scene was published by the “1 Kozaktv” channel.

"On February 5, a group of Epifaniy’s activists, led by a local deputy, ran out onto the porch of the church and attacked Orthodox believers. They beat women, literally threw out elderly people, and the police seemed to be in deep apathy," the channel's journalist Lev Klymenko said.

According to him, it was only when "violence was overflowing" that one of the police officers sprayed tear gas, which also hit the community members.

However, this did not stop the attackers. For about an hour they methodically forced the women off the steps in front of the church, and then, after reaching the locked doors from the inside, they began to break the lock. They ignored police appeals to stop the illegal actions.

"The raiders sensed the weakness of the police. It got to the point where they almost threw the law enforcers themselves out of the territory of the temple," the journalist said. “The activists of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine stood as a wall and did not let the law enforcers near their lock-breaker".

As a result, the door was forced open, but the parishioners, with minimal assistance from the police, prevented the raiders from breaking into the church.

During negotiations between the rector of the parish and an OCU cleric, the latter stated that he had documents for the church signed by the head of the Regional Military Administration and insisted that the two communities should use the church in turn but was refused.

Eventually, an agreement was reached to seal the church until the end of the dispute in court.

As the UOJ wrote, on 17 December 2022, the Pokrovsky Church community held a meeting at which 352 parishioners voted to remain in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The next day, OCU supporters held their own meeting, to which they brought people from other localities and announced the transfer of the parish to Dumenko's structure.

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