Unknown young people try to seize a church of Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Olenivka village, Borznyansky district of Chernihiv region, as 112.ua reported citing protoiereus Ioan and lawyer Viktor Makoviy.
On January 15, the meeting of the community took place and about 25 unknown people joined it as Viktor Makoviy said. They demanded to put the issue of the transition of the local religious community from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) to the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) to a vote.
“Head of a village put the issue on the voting. Only two locals supported it and 24 unknowns gave their votes. Moreover, another 11 votes were added to the final report; thus, there were 37 votes “for” the transition in the end. Local citizens were outraged as the Orthodox community stated earlier that it is not going to join the UAOC. Nevertheless, the present Head of Borznyansky Regional State Administration signed the report of the voting and it is unacceptable as it is the interference of the authority in the religious issues,” Makoviy said.
“Today in the morning, the outraged local parish gathered near the church but those 25 unknown people, who called themselves to be the patriots, were waiting for them there. The quarrel occurred. The local parish went home in the end as the unknowns threatened to use force,” protoiereus Ioan said.
According to Viktor Makoviy, unknown brought their own priest to the church, broke the locks and illegally entered the building. The parties of 112.ua found difficulty to reply what happens in the church now.
On January 16, the authority of Chernihiv region reported to the mass media that the first parish of the region transited to the UAOC. Olexy Stepanenko, the Head of Nationality and Religion Department of Culture, Tourism, Nationality and Religion Department of Chernihiv Regional State Administration, reported that “yesterday the general meeting of the citizens of Olenivka village along with the representatives of the religious community, the parish of local Saint Ascension parish took place and people voted for the transition to the UAOC during it.”
According to Stepanenko, the next step of the community is the appeal to the Eparchy of UAOC with the request to appoint a new priest. The transition took place without the agreement of the current head of the church.
Protoiereus Ioan reported that Pastor Olexandr Hladysh was not invited to the meeting and the head of the village assured him earlier that the issue of the transition to the UACO will not be raised.
The local church belongs to Nizhyn Eparchy of the UOC. Pastor Olexandr Hladysh called the decision of the meeting a provocation and said that people, who have nothing to do with Olenivka voted at the meeting.
Earlier the activists of “Svoboda” far-right party along with head of the council of Vorsivka village, Malyn District of Zhytomyr region forcefully hindered the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) to hold the divine service event on the territory of the church.
Earlier Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew passed the Tomos of autocephaly and bishops’ crosier to primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Epifaniy. The event happened during the festive service in St. George's Cathedral.
Besides, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko guarantees the state’s respect for the religious choice of every citizen of the country.