OCU activists take over UOC temple in Volyn village of Zabolotsi
The UOC believers came to their church in the morning to celebrate the Liturgy to find that four clerics of the schismatic structure were already "serving" in it.
On July 26, 2020, representatives of the OCU broke the locks on the doors of the Holy Cross Church of the UOC in the village of Zabolotsi of the Ivanychi district, Volyn region, as reported to the UOJ by the rector of the church, Archpriest John Sybira.
He said that in the morning the believers came to the church to perform a service. However, the temple turned out to be open, and inside there were already four OCU clerics “serving”.
According to the priest of the canonical Church and his parishioners, the keys to the temple were with the headman, and representatives of the schismatic structure broke the locks on the doors to enter the church.
“Today, for the first time since the opening of the church in 1906, the Divine Liturgy has not been sounded in it! Services were held during both the German occupation and the godless Soviet regime, as well as the time under Poland. And today, under a legal democratic government that "makes sure that constitutional rights are not violated", in particular, the right to freedom of conscience, the church was sealed and the worship service was disrupted in an arrogant, barbaric way," Archpriest John commented on the incident.
The UOC had to worship in the courtyard of their own church since the antimension and all church utensils were at the disposal of the schismatics.
One of the believers, Liubov, noted that there were no threats or announcements of intent to seize the church on the eve of the raider attack, but earlier the OCU activists had repeatedly walked around the temple and looked upon something.
After the “divine service” of the OCU, the believers of the canonical Church and representatives of the schismatic structure closed the temple with two locks and signed a paper stating that no one would enter the temple until the court decision.
During the communication between the believers of the UOC and representatives of the schismatic structure, police officers were present. The rector of the church of the UOC filed a complaint with them about the illegal penetration of the OCU activists into the territory of the church.
On February 24, 2019, in the village of Zabolotsi, OCU activists voted for the transfer of the local church to the jurisdiction of the new church structure. According to eyewitnesses, adherents of the schismatic religious structure used the support of the local authorities – the village head Alexander Tsibukhovsky, who also participated in the illegal transfer of the UOC church to the OCU in the village of Belichi.
On April 5, 2019, representatives of the authorities re-registered the temple of the canonical Church in Zabolotsi to the OCU.