OCU supporters evict a priest with his family from his house in Polesskoye

Supporters of the OCU in Polesskoye turn the priest of the UOC out of his house. Photo: UOJ

A year and a half after the seizure of the UOC church in Rivne region, the OCU activists decided to take away the priest's house, where the community has services.

The OCU activists in the village of Polesskoe, Bereznovo District, Rivne Region, gave the family of Stepan Korolchuk, a priest of the UOC's St. Michael's community, two days to vacate the parish house where their "priest" should move to. The video of the attempted raider takeover was reported to the UOJ by witnesses of the incident.

The video shows how ten people showed up in the courtyard of the rector of the Orthodox community in his absence and demanded that the priest's wife and daughter vacate the house.

“So far we’ve come to warn you verbally. Unless you vacate it in an amicable way, we will make you vacate ourselves,” one of the activists said resolutely and warned that the priest’s family should not touch the land, since the new owners would plow and sow on it. Another, during the onslaught, explained that they were not interested in court decisions on this matter, since "the fairest court is the people's one." Also, supporters of the OCU announced that they would destroy the plywood extension to the wall of the house, in which the UOC community, after the seizure of their church, is now forced to hold services.

“We will make repairs to accommodate our father (from the OCU – Ed.). We will change the windows to plastic ones, we will also do something else what the community will consider necessary. We do not mind them getting together, but let them give the hut to our priest and pray wherever they want,” the woman explained to the chairman of the village council who was present at the scene.

The priest’s wife Nina Korolchuk said that “this is not the first time they have asked us to move out of the house.”

“First they took over our temple, now they want a house, and this is not only to humiliate us but to arrange it so that our community has no place to pray,” she complained.

Matushka noted that neither the presence of small children nor the lack of court decisions in favor of the OCU stops the activists in their intentions.

Father Stepan has been the rector of the St. Michael's parish for 25 years, 20 of which have lived with his family in a church building, into which he put a lot of his labor. Together with the priest live five of his own children, two sons-in-law and two little grandchildren.

Raisa Prikhodko, a human rights defender of the Rivne Eparchy of the UOC, stressed that the OCU community "has no legal grounds" for the eviction of the priest and his family from the church building.

“The OCU community filed a claim for eviction, but only on September 25 a preparatory meeting will take place, at which a decision will be made on the further consideration of this case,” she explained.

Earlier, the UOJ wrote that on April 17, 2019, supporters of the OCU seized the temple of the UOC, breaking the doors with a crowbar. A year later, the parishioners made a plywood extension to the wall of the priestly house, in which the UOC community is holding services now.

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