Why aren't people talking about the fact that nationalists are persecuting Orthodox Christianity in the Ukraine?
This is a remarkable segment from the Russian evening news reporting on yet another illegal seizure of a church by nationalists from Ukrainians who belong to the Russian Church (a majority of Ukrainians). Full transcript follows below the video.
It shows a violent stand-off in front of the church, with grandmothers in shawls facing down snarling fascists, who then start shoving and punching the old ladies.
At one point a neo-nazi threatens to 'cut the throats' of the babushkas (Russian word for grandmother). Russian babushkas (and Ukrainian babushkas are no different - it is basically the same country), are notoriously hard to intimidate, and this time it doesn't work either, and they fiercely stand their ground.
A Catholic priest can be seen in the group of thugs, some of them neo-Nazi activists, openly encouraging the violence. At one point he seizes one of the babushkas by the arm and shoves her (image above).
(If anyone can identify the name of this priest, please write to us, or put it in the comment section below. We will contact him and his superiors for a comment, and write an article about him specifically - Editors)
The Catholic priest participating in the brawl. He is accompanied by a neo-Nazi agitator (right)
The Russian church has protested vociferously about these illegal seizures, which now number in the hundreds, to no avail.
One can see how relations between the Russian church and the Catholic church in Ukraine are strained, to say the least.
Full transcript: (Exclusive to Russian Faith)
In Ukraine's Ivano-Frankovsk region, Greek Catholics captured a 16th-century Orthodox church. Raiders acted far from Christian, using threats and fists. Invaders were helped by Ukrainian Neo-Nazis.
June 4, 2017. The Annunciation church in Kolomyia is officially closed. This permission was issued by local authorities to determine the further ownership of the church, to either the Ukrainian Orthodox Church or the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the Uniates.
After only a few days the doors of the temple are opened again. But not for all. The Orthodox parishioners were hinted rudely: this church now belongs to the Catholic Uniates. And those of other faith better not show up here.
Parishioner (Victim) of Nazi Harassment:
He told me: now it's a Greek Catholic Church, "Pani, go away," they turned me and threw me out. I say: "You have no right! He starts telling me different unpleasant words, threatens me. "This is our church, get out of here, otherwise we'll cut all your throats, we'll cut you all!"
He said "I cut the throats of 400 people and I will cut yours."
Attempts by parishioners to enter into a dialogue with the invaders are futile.
Uniate priests are guarded by local nationalists from "Right Sector" and "Black Hundreds," banned in Russia.
They aren't gentle with the Orthodox: they shower them with insults and even use their fists. I have the right! All conversations are reduced to one. Priests-raiders draw their comparisons: being Orthodox in Ukraine is worse than being a traitor.
Roman Kitselyuk, nationalist Uniat clergymen:
"Our pseudo citizens, those who call themselves intellectuals, are actually enemies of the church, enemies of the Ukrainian church, they continue to serve foreign countries and foreign churches."
The local diocese management of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, says they are categorically against such raider-like seizures.
Official stance of Ukrainian Catholic Church:
"We confirm the immutability of our position, our diocese, like whole Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, consistently stands for the preservation of interfaith peace and harmony in Ukraine, and does not prescribe or recommend capture of temples or any other property by force."
According to some sources, local deputies who fought in the South-East of Ukraine were the initiators of the seizure.
From their words, the Annunciation church has always belonged to the union.
However, the deputies have already been proven of historical ignorance. Kolomyia church appeared in end of the 16th century.
Vakhtang Kipshidze, Russian Patriarch's Press Office (Moscow)
It was originally built as an Orthodox church. Only after 100 some years did the Uniates come here. Vakhtang Kipshidze, Synodal Department, Church, Society, and the Media: "They appeared as a result of the union with the Catholic Church and received a status that still causes surprise to everyone. Recently, the Holy See acknowledged that such a theological- canonical experiment was unsuccessful."
Now local officials are offering an option to delay the decision. They do not understand why this commission is needed if no one issued permits to the Uniates to occupy the church.
So, this is a clear violation of the law.