UOL declares about protection of rights of UOC community in Zolochiv

Soldiers of the National Corps destroy the fence of the priest's house in Zolochiv with sledgehammers. Photo: website of the National Corps

The Union's lawyers stated the actions of Zolochiv authorities toward the priest and the UOC community are illegal and should be considered in criminal proceedings.

Lawyers of the Union of Orthodox Lawyers (UOL) on their telegram channel made a statement about the situation in Zolochiv, where local authorities persecute the family of priest Maxim Yoenko and prevent the UOC community from holding services.

The report says that UOL lawyers represent the interests of the priest's family in two court cases that concern the legality of the order of the Zolochiv City Council dated July 13, 2020 on dismantling the fence of the priest's house and banning repair and construction work on the family's private territory.

The Union of Orthodox Lawyers declares that “by their actions the authorities groundlessly interfere not only with the private life of the priest’s family, but also impede the fulfillment of the religious needs of the local religious community of the UOC. These actions of the city authorities will be considered in the framework of criminal proceedings."

Recall that in Zolochiv, the local authorities, with the help of radicals, are trying to get the priest's family out of the city. At the beginning of 2020, the family of UOC priest Maskim Yoenko acquired a dilapidated half of the house in Zolochiv and began repair work. A construction trailer was set up in the yard, where Fr. Maxim conducted services for the faithful of Zolochiv. The mayor of Zolochiv, Igor Grynkiv, has publicly stated that "there will be no Moscow church" in his city. On July 13, 2020, the Zolochiv City Council made a decision to "ban the activities of the churches of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine", as well as to ban repair and construction work on the private (!) territory of the family of the UOC priest Maxim Yoenko, which the priest and his wife had acquired legally.

On July 14, the mayor of Zolochiv organized a "veche" near the priest's house, where he brought a sledgehammer and urged those present to demolish the "illegal" fence of the house. Grynkiv also offered the priest to reimburse the costs of buying a house, so that the family left the city.

On July 17, the authorities illegally installed CCTV cameras over the private territory of the priest's house.

Unidentified people repeatedly threw paint at the fence and the trailer, and on August 6, activists of the National Corps smashed the fence of the house with sledgehammers.

On August 15, unknown assailants attacked a children's shop owned by a parishioner of the UOC. In the morning, the owner of the children's goods store found a broken signboard and the inscription "sponsor of the Russian Orthodox Church", which unknown persons had put in red paint on the facade of the building. In October the attack was repeated. The owner of the building, fearing worsening of the situation, demanded that the UOC believer take out the goods and vacate the premises.

On the night of September 28, 2020, unknown persons carried out another attack on the house. The vandals put on the fence the inscriptions "Get the ROC out" and "Zolochiv is not Brody", and also smudged the walls with the red paint and brilliant green.

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