OCU supporters provoke conflict around UOC church in Zabolotye

A group of OCU supporters together with local deputy Alexander Derevyanchuk. Photo: facebook.com

Believers of the UOC in Zabolotye defended their church from supporters of the OCU, who deceived the police and came to seek an "inventory".

On January 4, 2020, representatives of the OCU once again tried to provoke an interfaith conflict around the St. John the Theological Church in the village of Zabolotye of the Volodymyrets district, Rivne region, reports the UOJ correspondent.

For their own purposes, supporters of the schismatic structure ordered a number of provocations in the media and even gave false testimony to the police, demanding an inventory in the church. The UOC believers defended the church.

“I just went out with my daughter on business, when parishioners called and told me about the gathering of provocateurs of the church conflict in the village at the church,” says Archpriest Andrei Bozdomov, rector of the St. John the Theological Church in Zabolotye. "It turned out they were demanding an inventory, they even called the police."

According to eyewitnesses to the conflict, the police arrived in the village because of a statement written by supporters of the OCU. The statement says that the priest constantly takes something out of the church.

“How sad it all is, but I laughed because since the time I became the rector here, I’ve brought everything into the church,” says Father Andrei. “Recently, I’ve brought a Christmas tree, icons, etc. The police recorded this and left with God, explaining to the rebels that the compulsory inventory was beyond their competence."

As it turned out later, the supporters of the OCU began to prepare for the "inventory" in advance. On the eve, several articles appeared in the media, in which eloquent headlines say that the UOC lost the trial for a church in the Rivne region.

The human rights activist of the Sarny Eparchy of the UOC claims that the issue of using the religious building was not considered in court.

“This dispute should be considered by the Economic Court and it is still ahead,” says human rights activist Raisa Prikhodko. “Now we are preparing statements of claim on further appeal against the legality of registration of the OCU community”.

Actually, the beginning of the interfaith dispute in Zabolotye happened back in January 2019, as always after the collection of signatures and the provocative question: "Do you want a Ukrainian church?" And already in July, ignoring the results of parish meetings, at which the supporters of the OCU received only 20 votes against 190, they gathered their meetings and registered the OCU community.

“I am convinced that the supporters of the OCU are deliberately creating a precedent to provoke an exacerbation, I consider them aggressors,” says Archpriest Viktor Zemlianoy, head of the department for interfaith settlement at the Rivne Eparchy of the UOC. “The Church is the House of God, not a field for fights, disputes and lies. Actually, all these methods are resorted to by the OCU activists in order to take away the churches from the believers of the UOC.”

This time, the confrontation and fictitious inventory were avoided by the believers of the UOC, but they are still worried that the problems around the church will continue and ask everyone to pray for peace in Zabolotye.

As the UOJ reported, in 2019, the Rivne Regional State Administration carried out an illegal re-registration of the UOC religious community in Zabolotye.

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