Chronicles of the destruction of UOC in Western Ukraine

19 April 2023 15:37
The authorities are destroying the temples of the UOC. Photo: UOJ The authorities are destroying the temples of the UOC. Photo: UOJ

The spring of 2023 is about defeating UOC dioceses in the West. The authorities, OCU and radicals crushed the UOC in Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv regions. Khmelnytsky’s next.

What you will see in this video was unimaginable only yesterday. Today, in the spring of 2023, it can be said convincingly that the authorities of our Ukraine, in alliance with representatives of the OCU and radicals, are purposefully destroying the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. How does this happen? Let's get started.

On March 10, the authorities announced the termination of the Agreement with the UOC for the lease of the Lower Lavra. On March 29, the brethren were supposed to leave the monastery, but they did not. The believers organized a prayer standing in front of the entrance. People simply do not let the commission for inventory and sealing of churches. Everyone expected a forceful assault, but it did not follow. However, tragic events unfolded in the West of Ukraine.

On March 28, the authorities organized a raid of the last church of the UOC in Ivano-Frankivsk. A gang of young radicals broke open the side doors, sprayed tear gas inside and expelled the believers. Mayor of the city Ruslan Martsynkiv triumphantly announced that the Ivano-Frankivsk region became the first region of Ukraine without the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which he calls the Moscow Patriarchate:
“This is a great event for us. Ivano-Frankivsk region is the first region that today is completely without the Moscow Patriarchate.”

Soon the mayor said that the city had celebrated Easter for the first time without the UOC: “This is really the first Easter without the Moscow Patriarchate.”

The authorities dealt with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Lviv as well. On April 5, 50 unknown people, led by the deputy head of the Lviv Regional Council, Yuri Kholod, broke into the Cathedral of St. George's Church right during the liturgy. They stopped the worship and staged a fake vote for the transition to the OCU. Then they, together with the police, expelled the believers. The temple was taken over. On the same day, the authorities terminated the lease agreement and sealed the church of the Trinity community of the UOC.

The next day, the authorities did the unthinkable. They demolished the last temple of the UOC in Lviv with an excavator.

We reiterate – not some abandoned building, but a functioning church, in which hundreds of parishioners prayed.

Like in Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv mayor Andriy Sadovyi frankly stated that the communities were dealt with because of their belonging to the UOC. Quote: “Thanks to everyone who joined in and helped close the history of the Moscow Patriarchate in our city during these two days without provocation.”

Andriy Sadovyi: “Today we don’t have a single official community in Lviv that would hold divine services under the auspices of the Moscow Patriarchate. Like it or not, the decision has been made and must be respected. That’s final."

The same story is in the Lviv region. In Boryslav, the authorities sealed the Church of the Intercession after the community refused to transfer to the OCU. The government closed the church of the UOC in the village of Vidniv.

Consequently, the authorities openly destroy the parishes of the UOC precisely because these are parishes of the UOC.

The example of Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv inspired the authorities of Khmelnytsky. But the problem is that there are many hundreds of church communities there, and tens of thousands of parishioners in them. What to do? It was decided to use the provocation method proposed by the C14 leader Yevhen Karas for the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. There he instructed his fighters to divide into groups of two or three, where one would provoke a monk or a believer to aggression, and the rest would film it on the phone: “The task here is to act as a catalyst, to exacerbate it and (show – Ed.) that they behave like aggressors and like cattle. Thus, this aggressive behavior of theirs will help a lot so that everyone, including Europeans, will say that this is a terrorist aggressive group, not monks.”

In the Lavra, this technology did not work, because Karas' instructions got into the Net. But in Khmelnytsky everything came off brilliantly.
On April 2, all the Ukrainian media exploded with indignation – the Moscow priests of Khmelnytsky beat a military man. The channels showed footage where a subdeacon with parishioners was dragging a man away, while a female cameraman was lamenting about the scene of beating a military man.

This entry was published by Khmelnytsky deputy Viktor Burlyk. And then he called the city residents through the social networks to the UOC Cathedral. And now, already indignant at the "beating of the military", the crowd burst into the territory and suddenly began to vote for the transfer of the cathedral to the OCU. The cathedral was taken over in the end. The mayor of Khmelnytsky immediately convenes a session at which he "bans" the UOC in the city and region. Temples are raided both in Khmelnytsky and in the region according to the well-rolled scheme. However, let's get back to the "beating of the military", Artur Ananyev.

The video posted by the deputy begins from the moment when Ananyev is being dragged to the side. What happened before that was not shown on the video. Here is what the subdeacon himself, Igor Slobodyan, says: “Ananyev ran up to the pulpit, which stands in the middle of the temple, and poured water on the Father Protodeacon Rostyslav. After that, he jumped onto the pulpit, threw off the protodeacon, tore off his church vestments. As a result, the Holy Gospel fell to the floor.”

The fact that Ananyev attacked the deacon is also confirmed by several frames posted on the Web and supposed to show that the clergyman himself dropped the Gospel on the floor. Here you can see that the priest’s robe is torn.

That is, Ananyev disrupted the liturgy, attacked the deacon and was dangerous for the parishioners, women and children. That's why he was so harshly detained.

But the most interesting thing is that these footage was published by Yevhen Karas, the same one who gave instructions on provocations in the Lavra. How did he get a note from the woman in Khmelnytsky Cathedral? The answer is in this photo. Karas, Ananyev and deputy Burlyk are one team. Together they organized a provocation in Khmelnytsky, which caused indignation in society and gave rise to mass seizures in the city and region.

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This is how the raid of the cathedral in Shepetivka took place. The excited crowd was led to the temple, when the parishioners were praying inside. The side doors were broken. Believers started building barricades, but the forces were not equal. Raiders opened the central doors. The crowd burst into the temple, when part of the parishioners with their priest were praying on their knees. The new masters of life rejoiced and applauded. Parishioners of the UOC who did not want to leave on their own were dragged out by force. The cathedral was taken over.

During the seizure of other churches in Khmelnytsky and the region, the authorities blocked access to them for parishioners.

A parishioner of the St. George Church of the UOC Khmelnytsky: “We are all Khmelnytsky residents, parishioners of this temple, other temples. What is happening in the church right now? Why are people who came to the prayer service not allowed into the church? Why?! What are those people who are bustling there? What is going on in the church anyway?"

Furthermore, instead of parishioners, the authorities gathered complete outsiders to vote for the transition to the OCU.

"Suspilne Khmelnytsky" about the participants in the vote for the transfer of the Church of the UOC Mother of God of Kazan in Khmelnytsky to the OCU: "Valentyna Hesal says that she lives in a microdistrict on the other side of the city, but she came to support the community."

V. Hesal: “I considered it my direct duty to take part in this event.”

"Suspilne Khmelnytsky" about the participants in the vote for the transfer of the Church of the UOC Mother of God of Kazan in Khmelnytsky to the OCU: "Antonina, a resident of this microdistrict, says that she lives near the temple but goes to another church, ‘Ukrainian’."

Antonina: “We came here to support. Very good."

These raids are organized and led by officials. For example, during the seizure of St. George's Church in Khmelnytsky, the man who was presented as the head of a new religious community is actually the director of Khmelnytsky's electric utility company.

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In the situation at hand, believers cannot hope for power. They can defend churches only on their own, as was the case in Kamyanets-Podilsky. Here the officials also led the crowd to the cathedral with a clear intention to seize it. But failed. The parishioners became a wall at their temple.

Provocations against the UOC are not aimed at raids only. This is also an increase in the general degree of hatred for the Church in society. And this hatred yielded its rotten fruits: Bishop Nikita of Ivano-Frankivsk was beaten in Chernivtsi.

In the wake of overall hatred for the UOC, the local authorities are grabbing the land on which the churches are built. The scheme is simple: no land – no right to exist for the temple.

During the week, the city councils of Khmelnytsky, Kamyanets-Podilsky, Rivne, Zdolbuniv, Ternopil, Lutsk, Berezan and many others make decisions on the seizure of land. This simultaneous character suggests that the local authorities received an order from above.

Taras Batenko, MP of Ukraine: “This can be called a ‘spiritual revolution’, a purgatory. Ukraine is famous for its Maidans. The process of transfer of temples from the UOC of the Moscow Patriarchate to the OCU or, in the end, to some other confession cannot be stopped.”

At the same time, a legislative ban on the UOC is being prepared. For what?

MP Poturaev answers this question: “Our goal as state agents is to promote the establishment of a single Orthodox Church in Ukraine. It already exists – it is the OCU.” Moreover, Poturaev says that when this process is completed, the authorities will turn to the Phanar for another tomos for the OCU, this time for patriarchy. Quote: "These are the strategic goals of the Ukrainian state and Ukrainian Orthodoxy."

The basic law of the state – the Constitution of Ukraine in Article 35 defines the following principles regarding the freedom of religious and ideological beliefs of Ukrainians: “Everyone has the right to freedom of personal philosophy and religion. This right includes the freedom to profess or not to profess any religion, to perform alone or collectively and without constraint religious rites and ceremonial rituals, and to pursue religious activity… The Church and religious organizations in Ukraine are separated from the State, and the school — from the Church. No religion shall be recognized by the State as mandatory.”

What is happening in Ukraine around the Church is a chain of crimes so flagrant that can only be compared with the crimes of the Bolsheviks.

At the same time, our current authorities, like the Bolsheviks, say that Ukraine is a country of unprecedented religious freedom. The head of the State Ethnopolitics, Yelensky, quite seriously stated that "Ukraine is the space of the greatest religious freedom in Europe."

That is, the demolition of churches, the mass seizure of churches with the participation of the authorities, the deliberate destruction of one confession in entire regions, the incitement of hatred against a particular denomination – are these signs of "religious freedom"?

Someday all the actions of our authorities against the Church will be given an assessment, as it was done with the actions of the Soviet regime. Those state agents involved in the raids of local churches or elimination of the Church legislatively will be responsible for this, while the war will serve only as an aggravating circumstance.

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