Unexpectedly: Zoria decides to blame UOC for seizing OCU churches
Zoria said it’s exactly the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, not the OCU, that is a raider and an aggressor and seizes churches throughout Ukraine.
"Hierarch" Ivan (Eustratiy) Zoria accused the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the seizure of churches and the expulsion of the OCU communities. The spokesman of the OCU published his arguments on his Facebook page on Thursday, May 13.
According to Zoria, the UOC already at the level of voting for the transfer of the community to the OCU "resorts to a classic raider scheme of seizing churches with the expulsion of the community and its replacement with a new one, loyal to the MP."
Further – more: "The clergy from other parishes, brought along by parishioners of other communities, hired militants – ‘titushki’, lawyers and the media, bankrolled by supporters of the MP, are involved in the raider schemes initiated by the MP, who influence local authorities and law enforcement officers."
While the OCU community has court decisions and documents concerning jurisdiction and property rights, the UOC, according to Zoria, "uses brutal force and arranges provocations to either take away a temple from the community or leave it closed in the hope of grabbing it later."
Zoria stated that “undoubtedly, the resources and supporters of the MP will continue to write about the ‘seizures’, positioning themselves as victims, rather than as an aggressor and raider”, and urged “to clearly and consistently expose this cunning of the MP and indicate, that based on the decisions of the communities, the Russian Church in Ukraine takes churches away from the OCU communities.”
Also, as an argument in his favor, Zoria recalled that "the UOC stubbornly does not call Russia an aggressor," and "the events in Crimea and Donbass are only referred to as a ‘conflict’ and even ‘civil war’."
We will remind, Andrei Bezdomov, rector of the church of the Sarny diocese of the UOC in Zabolotye, which the OCU activists tried to capture on May 10, 2021, spoke about a typical "gathering" on the transfer of the UOC community to the OCU:
“Meetings of the village are held, certain decisions are made, which are passed off as decisions of the religious community. The community itself does not participate in this; it prays and continues its usual activities. But the authorities do not take this into account, they are not interested in whether such a community exists, whether it is faithful to the UOC, while the initiators of such illegal meetings are cordially received and issued new documents with accurate registration data of our parish. Thus, the authorities give a direct impetus for the further raider seizure of the temple."
As the UOJ wrote, earlier, with the support of “patriotic activists”, Zoria held a “bishop's service” in the UOC church in Pryputni, which was seized on April 4. The seizure of the temple was organized by nationalists from the Svoboda party. 37 activists voted for the "transfer" of the church to the OCU, while the religious community of the UOC, which prayed in the church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos in Pryputni before it was illegally seized, numbers about 500 people.