Metropolitan Varsonofy: Calls for seizing UOC churches is looting

Metropolitan Varsonofy during a service in the village of Ilkovka, Vinnytsia region. Photo: eparhia.vinnica.ua

The ruling bishop of the Vinnytsia diocese condemned the actions of some UTCs heads and village elders, who call for the raiding of the UOC churches during the warfare .

On March 23, 2022, at a sermon after the service in the village of Ilkovka, Metropolitan Varsonofy of Vinnytsia and Bar compared the calls of the heads of some OTGs (United Territorial Communities – Trans.) and village elders of the Vinnytsia region to seize the churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church with looting, the diocese of the UOC reports on its website.

The ruling bishop led the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts in the church in honor of St. Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra of Lycia. Metropolitan Varsonofy was concelebrated by the secretary of the diocese, Archimandrite Arkady (Senchukovsky), the dean of the Vinnytsia district church district, Archpriest Nikolai Strok, the rector of the temple, Priest Vitaly Ivanov, Archdeacon Nikolai Kravets, Deacon Andrei Balan, and the clergy of the deanery.

At the sermon, the bishop of the UOC noted that now unity is needed, and calls for church raiding only divide the people. “We must be united, only common efforts will lead our people to victory over the enemy. Calls for the seizure of churches by the UOC, which actively helps the Ukrainian military and prays for them, are equated with looting,” Metropolitan Varsonofy said.

While the Ukrainians are fighting off the aggressor at the front, the clergy of the UOC are increasingly becoming victims of attacks by the OCU in the Vinnytsia diocese, where schismatics have taken over six churches since the beginning of the war.

As reported by the UOJ, the community of the UOC church in the village of Rozhok, Vinnytsia diocese, reported that the village headman incites inter-religious hatred.

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