In Chernivtsi, UOC community is expelled from the church it built
The Chernivtsi deputies decided to seize the temple from the UOC community based on the DESS “expertise”, which allegedly discovered “ties” between the UOC and the ROC.
The Chernivtsi city council demanded that the community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church vacate the temple in honor of the Holy Great Martyr Panteleimon, which the believers built on the territory of the central city hospital, suspilne.media reports.
Construction began in 2007, services have been held in the church since 2011. The temple is in communal ownership, and the parish has been renting it for the last eight years.
The term of the next lease agreement expired on July 31, 2022, but according to the Cabinet of Ministers, it must be extended for the period of martial law and for another four months after the end of the war. However, the authorities of Chernivtsi decided otherwise: on April 27, 2023, at the same session of the city council, at which the UOC was deprived of the right to use land plots, the deputies also decided to terminate the lease agreement for the church of the Holy Great Martyr Panteleimon. The basis for such a decision was the conclusions of the "religious expertise" of the State Ethnopolitics, which allegedly discovered the "church-canonical relation" of the UOC with the Moscow Patriarchate. The rector of the parish, Archpriest Georgy Aronets, who wanted to speak at the session, was not given the floor.
Vadym Russu, head of the communal property department of the Chernivtsi city council, said that the mayor's office had sent a letter to the St. Panteleimon community demanding to leave the church. The rector of the parish declares that believers will defend their right to be in the temple.
“It is very painful to talk about this – this temple is a value for us, this is our child,” Father George notes. “We should strive not for confrontation, not for a quarrel, but for dialogue. It would be better if the servants of the people organized some kind of commissions, round tables for communication in order to come to some kind of unity.”
As the UOJ reported, deputies of the Chernivtsi Regional Council banned the activities of religious organizations in the region in view of the "proven church-canonical connection with the aggressor country."