Priest fined for calling OCU schismatics on the social network

31 August 2021 22:45
Based on a conciliation agreement, the court found the priest guilty. Photo: Based on a conciliation agreement, the court found the priest guilty. Photo:

Hieromonk Andronic complained on Facebook that in Voronezh of the Konotop Eparchy, local authorities are promoting the church schism.

The Shostka City Court of the Sumy Region found the priest of the Holy Intercession Church in Voronezh of the Konotop Eparchy of the UOC Hieromonk Andronik (Zenkov), who called the OCU supporters schismatics on the Facebook social network, guilty of a criminal offence, according to the verdict published in the Unified Register of Judgments.

In particular, the court found that Father Andronic has had negative views on the creation of the OCU since 2019 as he considers it non-canonical. After the decision of the Voronezh authorities to allocate land for the construction of the OCU temple, the priest criticized the decision on the social network, noting that the authorities do not attend services and do not support the three ancient temples existing in the village, but "promote the church schism".

The publications of the rector of the Holy Intercession Church were reported by three people who acted as victims. The forensic examination of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine considered that the posts of the priest on Facebook contain “public calls for a negative (hostile) attitude towards certain social groups of people by religion and class ... as well as information about the need to directly restrict the rights of a social group of people who support the OCU to build their own temple". 

Even before the start of the trial, Father Andronik concluded an сonciliation agreement with the victims and pleaded guilty in court. In this regard, he was found guilty of a crime under Part 1 of Article 161 of the Criminal Code (incitement to national, racial or religious hatred) and was fined 8,500 hryvnias and also ordered to pay 6,864 hryvnias for the examination.

As reported, the Lviv Regional State Administration refused to fire the official who incited hatred.

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