In Kononivka, priest have to give communion to believers through a window

In Kononovka, due to the impossibility of providing parishioners with access to the church, the belivers received communion through the window. Photo: UOJ

Due to the actions of the UTC head, the priests were locked inside the temple, while an angry mob could break in at any moment to commit lynching against the clergy.

There became known the details of the incident in the village of Kononivka, Cherkasy region, where on July 2, 2022, the head of the Shramkovka UTC with a support group disrupted the great consecration of the church in honor of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, built at the expense of the religious community of the UOC.

The rector of the temple, Priest Igor Basiuk, told the UOJ that a group of people aggressively disposed towards the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, led by the chairman of the UTC Anatoliy Kulia, blocked the entrance to the temple. At the same time, a representative of the local authorities referred to the fact that “during martial law, any mass events, including religious ones, are prohibited.” In turn, the crowd that came with him set out to not only disrupt the festive service, but also publicly slander the clergy in front of their fellow villagers.

"Activists" slanderously and unfoundedly accused priests and parishioners of collaborationism.

Even the archpastoral appeal of the head of the Cherkasy Eparchy, Metropolitan Theodosy of Cherkasy and Kaniv, who arrived in Kononivka, could not mitigate the aggression of the people who disrupted the service. They continued to insult the priests in front of the parishioners and young children who were traumatized by what they saw.

Sergiy, Metropolitan Theodosy’s junior subdeacon, shared his experiences. A 13-year-old teenager experienced great stress when he saw that his father, a priest, was locked inside the temple, and an angry mob could break in at any moment to commit lynching of the clergy.

While on the street the "activists" sorted things out with the faithful of the UOC in a harsh manner, the priests who remained in the closed church served a moleben to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, after which they decided to celebrate the Divine Liturgy. Due to the impossibility of providing access for the invited clergy and parishioners to the temple, the “outsiders” received communion through the window.

Liturgical chants were constantly interrupted by the cries of the indignant crowd. The "activists" openly declared that they did not want to pray and did not need worship, while shouting out stereotyped anti-church slogans.

“Standing on the street, having experienced a strong emotional shock, people prayed and cried,” Father Igor Basiuk said.

The community of the Nicholas church does not lose hope for the repentance of those who disrupted the service, and for the fact that the parishioners of the temple will soon again be able to share the joy of joint prayer with the clergy.

As the UOJ reported, the OCU members, with the assistance of the authorities, tried to seize the temple of the UOC in Kniazhpil.

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