"Faithful": a congress of believers from seized churches starts in Lavra

A congress of the believers of the seized temples began at the Refectory Church of the Lavra. Photo: UOJ

Representatives of the communities of the seized temples of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from all over the country came to the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.

A congress of representatives of the communities of the seized temples of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, as well as believers who oppose raiding attempts by the OCU and the UGCC, began its work at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. The organizers called this meeting "The Faithful", reports a UOJ correspondent.

About 350 community representatives from the following villages arrived in Kiev: Novostav, Rachin, Pechikhvosty, Sudobichi, Uhryniv, Khodosy, Miatyn, Butyn, Povcha, Badivka, Novoselki, Milcha, Bashuky, Mali Dmytrovychi, Katerynivka, Pylypets, Kostiantynivka, Ptycha, Hrybovytsia, Kolodianka , Krasnosillia, Kolosova, Kuliby, Kuty, Bohorodchany, Vinnytsia, Stryzhavka, Boyanchuk, Nesvich, Hnezdychne, Pokhivka, Katiuzhyny, Kinakhivka, Dmytrievka, Stary Hvozdets, Kolomyya, Olenivka, Bilohorodka, Rude, Rostocky, Nichehivka, Myzove, Sadiv, Zhydychin, Rozvazh, Pyatihory, Yasinia, Kulchun, Bilychi, Tribukhivtsy, Nuino, Mykhalcha, Bushcha, Kurozvany, Skobelka, Nova Moshchanytsia, Bokhonyky, Berestye, Klepachiv, Kovpyta, Berezhnytsia, Selets, Mnyshyn, Myrne, Mykhaylivtsi, Polisske, Pohreby, Zavoloka, Bobly, Gryniava, Tetilkivtsi, Budiatychi, Dilove, Proboynivka, Puzhaikove, Vorsivka, Dorosyni, Andriyashevka, Kruty, Pilipovychi, Levkiv, Zviniachye, Lobachivka, Chumaky, Riasniky, Zalukhiv, Okhnivka, Borova , Devichki, Penkivka, Oshchev, Makhnivka, Chudnytsia, Urvenna, Vesele, Radoshyn, Kropyvnytskyi, Singury, Vaslovovtsy, Poradivka, Hardyshivka, Zadubrivka, Shepel, Chetvertynivka, Rakiv Lis, Tribukhivtsi, Baikivtsy, Birky, Berezhonka, Krapyvne, Stadnyky, Nygyn, Kalynivka , Trashcha, Baranivka, Ukrainka, Drozdov, Velikyi Kuren, Ivankiv, Kamen-Kashirsky, Tovtry, Vapniarka, Malynsk, Dorotysche, Susval, Zolochiv, Luka-Meleshkivska, Pryslop.

The map on which each affected community indicated its locality

13:20 The congress participants recorded a video message to the authorities.

Participants of the Congress “The Faithful” recorded a video message to the authorities.


13:00 The forum participants adopted an appeal to the President of Ukraine, Prime Minister and Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada with a call to protect and ensure the constitutional rights of believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to free religion.

The presidium of the meeting at the Refectory Church

12:50 The speech of the representative of the "Favor" Fund Artem Aksenov. The foundation has helped to build new temples for dozens of communities. According to Aksenov, despite the fact that in conflict situations the law is almost always on the side of the UOC, in most cases the communities are trying to get away from the conflict and build a new church. And this is where the foundation is ready to help them. Artem Aksenov said that Orthodox believers from all over the world donate to the “Favor” Foundation, and it has specialists of all trades necesssary for the construction of churches.

Representative of the "Favor" Fund Artem Aksenov

12:30 Presentation by the UOC community from Olenivka. The rector of the parish, Priest Alexander Gladysh, told the participants how the seizure of their church took place, how the faithful of the entire region stood under the regional council with the demand to return the church to the Orthodox, while the official had already re-registered the temple. The priest said that the parishioners decided not to fight for the temple but to act in a Christian way, to get away from the conflict and build a new church.

Presentation by the UOC community from Olenivka 

12:20 The speech by the sexton of the seized Vinnytsia Cathedral of the UOC Rostislav Zagranichny. He spoke about how the seizure of the cathedral took place on December 15-16, 2018. According to Rostislav, on the day of the seizure, many strong men appeared in the cathedral. They did not pray, did not cross, but simply stood and watched in silence. They became the driving force behind the "transfer" to the OCU. Rostislav also said that shortly before the betrayal, Metropolitan Simeon ordered to accept notes with the names of the non-Orthodox, and on the eve of the seizure, Drabinko visited the temple with representatives of the local authorities.

Sexton of the Transfiguration Cathedral in Vinnytsia Rostislav Zagranichny

12:12 The speech by the head of the community in Katerynivka, Fr. Sergey Gladun. The priest told how the seizure in Katerynivka was planned and implemented. The Kyiv Patriarchate and the Right Sector acted together. During the seizure, the pressure was so powerful that the fence was broken with the bodies of the believers when the “Ternopil” battalion fighters beat them with truncheons. Fr. Sergey claims that the main initiators of the seizure have already died, many very young.

Rector of the community in Katerynivka, Fr. Sergey Gladun

12:00 The speech by the community from the village of Ptycha. The believers argue that the authorities do not hear the community, despite the successful trials. The community asks the authorities not to interfere and to carry out court decisions. Despite the protracted conflict and difficult conditions for worship, not a single person has left the UOC community.

The representative of the Ptycha community speaking

11:50 Speeches by representatives of the Zadubrivka community of the Chernivtsi-Bukovyna Eparchy, who have been standing for prayer in their church for the third year. The faithful say that the community in Zadubrivka has strengthened and become friendlier, despite the ongoing provocations. The community offered to help finance the construction of the OCU temple, but the latter refuse. During the "outdoor prayer" of the OCU community, not a single Liturgy was served.

Representatives of the Zadubrivka community speaking

11:40 The head of the Legal Department of the UOC, Archpriest Alexander Bakhov, spoke about the statistics of the seizures of churches and methods of countering raiding. The priest said that in every such case, it is imperative to contact the police to record a complaint about an offence.

The speech by the head of the Legal Department of the UOC, Archpriest Alexander Bakhov

11:30 Metropolitan Anthony read out the welcoming speech of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry to the participants of the congress. The Primate expresses his paternal support to the affected communities.

11:00 A prayer service began at the Refectory Church of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. It was headed by the UOC Chancellor, Metropolitan Anthony.

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