Undeterred by the continuing celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ in these Paschal day, the schismatics of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) continue to launch attacks on the churches, clergy, and faithful of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
During a confrontation on Monday in the village of Zabolote in the Rivne Province, the violent nationalists, armed with fire extinguishers and pepper spray, injured 10 people, two of whom were hospitalized, including the rector of the Church of the Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, reports the Union of Orthodox Journalists and the Information-Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
65-year-old parishioner Eva Suprunets was seriously injured after she was hit and knocked to the ground. She was taken to the hospital with a dislocated knee. The rector of the church, Fr. Andrei Bezdomov, was also hospitalized with high blood pressure caused by the attack.
“You know, this inter-confessional conflict has been going on for two years now, but there was a lull, and we relaxed a little, but these events knocked the ground out from under our feet,” commented Fr. Andrei. “My blood pressure rose to 200/210. The ambulance too me to the hospital, they gave me various injections, but I couldn’t stay there when my people were being beaten here.”
The Rivne Provincial State Administration illegally re-registered the church to the schismatics in July 2019, and since then the schismatics had been trying to seize the church. They also arranged a provocation on Holy Saturday this year, calling their schismatic priest to the church yard to bless eggs and kulichi. They also draped the cross in a Ukrainian flag.
It is known that the church was seized with the support of reginal deputies. Afterwards, the police sealed the church, so the Orthodox faithful are forced to worship in the parish house.
The authorities offered to decide the fate of the church at a general meeting of the village. However, it is well known that the schismatics flood such meetings with people who have no relationship to the church or the village to vote to transfer the church into schism.
The canonical community has filed a statement with the police and will be filing a lawsuit to protects its rights to its church.
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