Zolochiv mayor comes to “veche” against UOC temple with a sledgehammer

Igor Grinkiv, mayor of Zolochiv, brought along the sledgehammer to the “veche” against the UOC, which took place at the house of the clergy of the canonical Church. Photo: screenshot of the video on Grinkiv's Facebook page

During the “anti-UOC veche”, the Zolochiv mayor showed a sledgehammer and said that he and his supporters had no desire to come round, as they “stick to their own guns”.

At 18:00 on July 14, 2020, the local authorities of Zolochiv held a “veche” against the canonical Church near the house of the clergyman of the Lviv Eparchy of the UOC Priest Maxim Yoenko, to which the mayor Igor Grinkiv had brought a sledgehammer. The mayor published the “veche” video on his FB page.

He personally moderated the event and called on the participants in the meeting to “act in accordance with the law,” adding that “no one oppresses” the cleric of the UOC.

“We do not want to get there. We ‘stick to our own guns’,” said the official who had brought along a sledgehammer to the house of the clergyman, after which the anthem of Ukraine sounded.

Grinkiv told the audience that the City Council decided to request the head of the Lviv Regional State Administration, Maxim Kozitsky, to prevent the construction of the UOC church "under the guise of a residential building" in Zolochiv city. Allegedly, the “practice of spontaneous construction of temples” of the canonical Church in other localities prompted local authorities to vote for such a decision.

According to him, the City Council ordered that video surveillance be established on Trush Street (the clergyman’s house of the UOC is located there – Ed.) in order to “ensure the safety of the city’s residents” and record “unlawful actions” by the builder (Priest Maxim Yoenko – Ed.).

Grinkiv announced the intention of the City Council to appeal to the President of Ukraine and MPs of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine with a request to ban the activities of the UOC in the country and explained that he had brought a sledgehammer to the clergyman’s house as a “symbol”. The official recalled how earlier, with the help of sledgehammers and hammers, the residents of the city opposed illegal development.

“We did not wait for a legal solution; we came as a whole community and said ‘no’ to arbitrary building. We did not aim to demolish the constructions. Our target was to get across that the law is one for all,” he added.

The mayor of Zolochev said that “complete interfaith unity reigns in the city”, and informed the audience that he has a great desire to break the fence with a hammer, but he does not want to stir up the population to conflict. Then the mayor referred to the reconstruction of the private house of the UOC clergyman as a "provocation".

“The biggest provocation that happens here is what is behind the fence. It was they who staged a provocation,” Grinkiv emphasized.

He said that the believers of the UOC should have asked the local authorities about the construction of the temple and immediately added that the canonical Church allegedly refused to provide funeral service for ATO soldiers and pray for the enemy. The mayor of Zolochiv vowed that unless Father Maxim dismantled the fence, then next time law enforcement officers would not “convince” the residents of the city not to use a sledgehammer.

“A few ‘aliens’ ”will not make a difference here,” Grinkiv said and assured that he was even ready to convene an extraordinary session of the City Council in order to return to the cleric of the UOC the money spent on purchasing the house and to get Fr. Maxim to leave the city.

Other participants in the “veche” said that the UOC was allegedly recognized by all the laws of Ukraine as “the Church of the aggressor state”. When priest Maxim exhorted to recall Christ's words about love for your neighbors, the audience only burst with laughter. Those who had gathered at the priest’s gate called the clergyman "nigger" and asked why he had come to live in Zolochiv.

Earlier, Ukrainian politician Vasily Gorbal called on the OP to respond to the situation in Zolochiv.

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