“Hollow Church of Ukraine": What happens to the seized UOC temples

11 November 2023 15:16
1751
Most of the seized UOC temples have locks on their doors. Photo: UOJ Most of the seized UOC temples have locks on their doors. Photo: UOJ

Today, hundreds of churches are being taken away from the UOC across Ukraine. But why did the "Holy Church of Ukraine" (OCU) end up as the “Holy Hollow Church of Ukraine”?

Perhaps the most appalling aspect of the seizures of Ukrainian Orthodox Church temples is that, in reality, these temples are no longer needed by anyone, not even by the occupiers themselves.

For instance, Epifaniy Dumenko often talked about how much his OCU desperately needed the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. 

When he serves there, people are brought in by buses, and there are still some people in the temple. But when Dumenko is absent, there are no people. For instance, you can see how many attended the service at the Refectory Church on the Transfiguration. Now look at how many people were present at the Exaltation of the Cross service in the Assumption Cathedral.

Let's recall that during the time of the UOC, hundreds or even thousands of people used to pray here. But this is the Lavra, it is always in plain sight, so the temples here are open, and the OCU is simply compelled to serve in them to avoid embarrassment.

However, in the seized churches in distant villages, the situation is even worse. They are merely closed.

We will briefly show you what is happening today with UOC temples in just two regions – Zhytomyr and Rivne. The videos were filmed on Sundays – October 15, 22, and 29.

***

The same is happening in all regions, including those near Kyiv. Temples are confiscated and closed even in cities. For example, in the globally renowned town of Irpin, the authorities either transferred to the OCU or closed all the UOC churches except one. The most recent incident is particularly telling. The city council unlawfully transferred the city's oldest church, the Trinity Church, to the OCU. On the same day, the military expelled everyone from the church, and the church was sealed. It will now become a reserve.

During this time, the Ukrainian government sends members of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches to the United States with a party directive – to convince Americans that there are no persecutions in Ukraine. This comes after an episode of Tucker Carlson's show in the United States featuring American lawyer Bob Amsterdam representing the UOC. It was subsequently supported by Elon Musk. The episode was watched by more than 105 million people in total. Following this, statements were made by other American politicians.

Tulsi Gabbard, former Vice-Chair of the Democratic National Committee: "In Ukraine, President Zelensky has already taken complete control of the media. He has outlawed his political opposition parties and he has banned the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the country."

Vivek Ramaswami, US Republican presidential candidate: "You want to use American taxpayer money to fund the banning of Christians? This is actually what is really happening. They are using the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. They've banned them. The Ukrainian parliament did this literally last week with the support of our dollars."

The OCU spokesperson, Evstratiy Zoria, tried his best to refute them:

Evstratiy Zoria, spokesman of the OCU: "Ukraine has never had this level of religious freedom as it does today since gaining independence. Our religious organizations have never had this, in all the centuries."

Zoria really exerted himself, but the "priests" of the OCU in the Bila Tserkva Diocese, who, on his instructions, cut out and knocked out the doors of the Transfiguration Cathedral of the UOC in the city of Bila Tserkva, illustrate his point best.

This is the level of religious freedom in Ukraine today. The same level as the conscience of its propagandists.

If you notice an error, select the required text and press Ctrl+Enter or Submit an error to report it to the editors.
Read also