Considering his attack on the Orthodox Church and the havoc he has wreaked in Ukraine, it will be difficult for Patriarch Bartholomew to stand before God, believes Matushka Juliana Taborovets from the captured Holy Protection Church in the village of Bereste.
Matushka participated in the congress of representatives of parish churches seized by the schismatics throughout Ukraine held at the Kiev Caves Lavra on February 22, where she gave extensive comments to the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
Pat. Bartholomew, 81, “will soon go to God and look God in the eye. What will you say then, ‘dyadka [literally “uncle,” used for any older or unknown man—OC]?’” Matushka asks.
“I say ‘dyadka,’ because I don’t consider him a patriarch, because he violated the canons. He himself became a schismatic once he recognized the schismatics,” Matushka Juliana explained.
The schismatic invaders have divided all the villages in her area. “What has he done?... What will he [Pat. Bartholomew—OC] say? I have no right to judge; only actions can be condemned. But it’s scary. It’s scary how much he has done, how many tears have been shed. And blood was spilled for other churches,” Matushka said soberly.
She also explained that the church was seized as were so many others—first by a vote of people who had no connection to the church, including Baptists, Pentecostals, and people from other villages.
After that there were four attempts in a month to physically seize the church, but the people prayed incessantly, and the priests served numerous akathists.
The faithful of the canonical Church would sing the Jesus Prayer and the Nicene Creed, while the schismatics would shout, “Ukraine’s not dead yet.” Her husband, Archpriest Sergei, and others were repeatedly beaten and spat upon, Matushka recalled.
The schismatics finally managed to seize the church on April 2, 2019, as the police stood by and watched. Elderly parishioners were beaten and girls were dragged by their hair. The schismatics had gone crazy, with blank looks in their eyes, Matushka said.
In the end, they seized the church, the parish house, and the cemetery chapel, leaving the Orthodox faithful to pray in a shack.
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