UOC urges international community to condemn assault in Nizhyn
Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) commented on the situation in Nizhyn where radicals, who call themselves patriots, attacked the cross procession of the UOC.
Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka, Head of the Representation of the UOC to European International Organizations, called on the international community to condemn yet another act of violence against the believers of the UOC, and the Ukrainian authorities to respond appropriately to the violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms of Ukrainian citizens. The hierarch wrote about this in his tg-channel after the incident with the attack of radicals on the religious procession of the faithful of the Nizhyn diocese in the city of Nizhyn, Chernihiv region.
The bishop noted that the patriotic slogans that the young men in Nizhyn initially cried out quickly turned into insults and attempts to interfere with the procession using physical violence. As a result, several UOC believers were severely beaten, and priests were also injured.
The perpetrators of the attack should be prosecuted, the UOC hierarch emphasized.
He added there were vivid signs of spiritual illness among the participants in the attack on the procession – one was with a pig's hoof, the other was trying to get into the holy icons with his own sewage – “once again testify that the greatest enemy of the Church is the devil, who only uses certain people for their own purposes". It is also obvious, as Bishop Victor noted that modern Ukrainian “patriots” in their struggle against the Church are actually copying the Bolsheviks and Komsomol members, hence they can be called the followers of the Soviet atheists.
“We again call on the Ukrainian authorities to respond appropriately to the violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms of Ukrainian citizens, who are guaranteed by the Constitution to freely practice their religious beliefs. If the authorities fail to respond to manifestations of aggression towards the believers of the UOC, who are citizens of Ukraine, then the consequences of this may be irreparable. Already now we can talk about another upsurge in hatred and aggression towards our Church. This increase is born of a sense of impunity on the part of those who call themselves "patriots" but who are actually theomachists.
In addition, we call on international human rights organizations to pay attention to absolutely unacceptable actions against the UOC by representatives of various radical groups. Any violence against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is subject to strong condemnation by the international community,” the head of the UOC Representation to European International Organizations stressed.
Bishop Victor added that situations similar to what happened in Nizhyn significantly undermine Ukraine's image in the international arena, transforming it from a democratic and rule-of-law state into a state with the rule of arbitrariness and violence.
As the UOJ reported, on June 23, Ukrainian "patriots" with US flags attacked the procession of the UOC in Nizhyn. The Nizhyn diocese reported that those who had committed offences against the believers would be prosecuted.