Rivne "hierarch" of OCU awards officials involved in church raiding
The police and Rivne Regional Council – participants and initiators of church conflicts and seizures of UOC temples in the region – were awarded by the OCU.
On February 28, 2021, the "archbishop" of the OCU Hilarion Protsik awarded law enforcement officers and the chairman of the Rivne Regional Council Sergei Kondrachuk "for services to the Local Ukrainian Orthodox Church." This was reported on the Facebook page of the Rivne diocese of the OCU.
The award ceremony took place in the Holy Resurrection Cathedral of the OCU right after the "divine service".
In particular, the head of the Rivne Regional Council, Sergei Kondrachuk, received the Order of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Vladimir the Great, III degree, the head of the Rivne Patrol Police Sergei Merchuk was presented the medal of St. George the Winner, while the head of the Department of Preventive Activities of the GUNP in the Rivne region, Ruslan Zhuk – the medal of the Holy Archangel Michael of God.
All of the persons awarded by the OCU were direct participants and even initiators of a number of church conflicts in the Rivne region.
For example, Sergei Kondrachuk, the former chairman of the Zdolbuniv Regional State Administration, who is now the head of the Rivne Regional Council, initiated the seizure of seven churches in the Zdolbuniv district, some of which he personally opened with a crowbar.
“In the past, heading the district, the man served the ‘most holy church’ both in word and in deed,” Archpriest Vasily Nachev, a cleric of the Rivne diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, commented on the award ceremony for Kondrachuk on his Facebook page. “In deed – he broke the doors in the temple with a crowbar, at six in the morning, supposedly, he was picking mushrooms near the temple, tearing the lock from the temple together with other mushroom pickers. In word – he personally coordinated the church raiding actions of all activists, for which he was honored with the arrival of the former President and the current main EUist of Ukraine to the region and had a meteoric rise in his career. People are rewarded for gangster actions, and all those crowbars, hammers, sticks, grinders will be put up for worship as ‘sanctities’?"
As for the police officers awarded by the OCU, then, according to the testimony of the believers of the UOC in the village of Buderazh, they also noted their absolute assistance to the OCU community. According to parishioner Iryna Tikhonyuk, on the day when people from the OCU cut off the locks from the church in Buderazh, Messrs. Merchuk and Zhuk kept the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church behind the fence and threatened to lay everyone face down on the ground if any of them entered the church premises.
We will remind, earlier the head of the liquidated UOC-KP Filaret Denisenko presented the church order to the mayor of Konotop, who ordered to block the UOC temples.