'Local tensions' observed in some parishes loyal to Russian Orthodoxy in Ukraine

Author : BBC News

Source : BBC

BBC reporter unveiled such a case, quoting a priest at a local church in Bohorodchany, western Ukraine
13:34, 14 January 2019

Church, man kneeling

Amidst the ongoing events in the religious life in Ukraine, there's clearly the main tendency of parishes transiting from the jurisdiction of Moscow Patriarchate to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the new-born autocephalous Ukrainian church. BBC contributor Nick Sturdee dedicated a story to this particular issue.  

'The sun is streaming through the lofty windows of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Bohorodchany. The divine floodlight illuminates icons and families before them, and the tear-like streaks of condensation on the frescoes thought miraculous by those who attend here. The congregation chants, many brandishing their candles as though ready for battle. Father Volodymyr faces them all, bearded, crucifix clasped in both hands. Today's sermon is on the persecution of Orthodox saints through the ages, and moves inexorably and seamlessly to the present - in fact, to the events in this very church just a few days earlier. "There were 40 of them. They broke down the doors," he announces. "They forced us to the ground. They hit our sexton on the head. They called us KGB agents and said we should switch church. Change our confession. All in a very nice, democratic way - of course. This is the story according to Father Volodymyr - a Russia-trained priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - of how a delegation from the town council, with a supporting cast of local political "activists", had come to the church to execute an order ejecting him and his family from rooms they had occupied for some 20 years', reads the story.

What the priest describes as a raid against the church community, the local authorities treat as the legal actions, as 'the priest's family's rooms are needed by the town's growing music school'. The feeling that something's wrong in this picture is completed by the fact that the church seems to be under constant surveillance by a man in Toyota parked nearby. The BBC team managed to speak to the man and his sidekicks - as follows:

"What are you doing here?" we ask Toyota man, cornered among the potholes of a music schoolyard with three friends in hoodies.

"We are the people who love Ukraine. These people do not love Ukraine. They are Russia."

He closes the window'.

Related: Poroshenko brings Tomos of autocephaly of Orthodox Church of Ukraine to Vinnytsia

Related: Granting autocephaly to Orthodox Church of Ukraine 'historical', - Pompeo

Related: Synod of Ecumenical Patriarchate signs Tomos on autocephaly for Orthodox Church of Ukraine

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