Metropolitan Varsonofy appeals to Shostatsky due to seizures of UOC temples

Metropolitan Varsonofy of Vinnytsia and Bar. Photo: press service of the Vinnytsia diocese

The Vinnytsia bishop called on the "hierarch" of the OCU Simeon (Shostatsky) to take control of his "priests" who sow enmity amid warfare.

The Chancellor of the Vinnytsia Eparchy of the UOC, Metropolitan Varsonofy of Vinnytsia and Bar, appealed to the "hierarch" of the OCU Simeon (Shostatsky) because of a number of churches in the Vinnytsia region seized by schismatics. The text of the appeal was published by the Ukrainian Church Tg channel.

“At a time when the Russian Federation is committing armed aggression against Ukraine, we, the Orthodox citizens of our state, must be united more than ever, defending the interests of our country, rendering all possible assistance to our defenders, caring for the wounded and injured, providing shelter to refugees. <...> But, unfortunately, in this extremely difficult time for all of us, on the part of your subordinates, we witness actions aimed not at unity, but at divisions in society. By addressing the clergy of the Vinnytsia diocese of the UOC, you make it clear that you are counting on a dialogue, but the actions of individual clerics of your diocese can negate the possibility of any dialogue,” Metropolitan Varsonofy wrote and cited the facts of the atrocities of the clergy and supporters of Shostatsky.

“For example, on March 6, in the village of Malye Krushlintsy, Vinnytsia region, OCU activists broke into the temple, disrupted the service, dragged the clergyman out into the street by force, and seized the premises of the temple. At the same time, the attackers entered the altar and touched the Holy See. These actions were carried out with the participation and active instigation of Pavel Zvirinsky. On March 12, in the village of Lavrovka, OCU activists entered the temple during a service together with the same Pavel Zvirinsky, disrupted the service, tried to forcefully pull out the priest and believers of the UOC, started a fight, inflicted bodily harm on a believer of the religious community of the UOC, threatened with physical violence. On March 13, OCU activists and strangers, invited by them from neighboring villages, gathered after 6 am in the village of Penkovka. They prevented the priest and believers of the UOC from performing the service, cut off the locks and seized the temple premises, put their hats on the Holy See, leaned on it with their hands, did not allow the priest to take away the Holy Gifts, and simply threw liturgical books on the ground. I think that you are well aware of all the other iniquities of your subordinates and activists,” the bishop of the UOC noted.

Metropolitan Varsonofy is convinced that such actions in the conditions of war can be regarded as looting.

“When the authorities of the Russian Federation are trying to justify an armed attack on Ukraine, including by the alleged ‘protection of the rights’ of the believers of the UOC, such actions bear all the signs of a provocation in favor of the aggressor state <...> I urge you to take control of the actions of the clergy of your diocese in order to avoid a split of society along religious lines during the war,” wrote the Metropolitan of Vinnytsia and Bar.

As the UOJ reported, in just one month since the outbreak of war, adherents of the OCU have already seized six temples of the UOC in the Vinnytsia Eparchy.

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