Ukrainian Orthodox violence against non-Orthodox


Religiia v Ukraine, 25 March 2016


On 24 March, the Putila court of Chernovtsy province found an Orthodox priest guilty of causing material and moral damages to a missionary of the religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses. This is not the first case of the use of physical force by Orthodox clergy against representatives of protestant communities, Religiia v Ukraine reports.


In Bukovina, in the Vizhnitsa district, a representative of the Jehovah's Witnesses organization came to the home of a 54-year-old Orthodox priest, and he witnessed to his faith and invited him to a religious ritual.


As the Bukovina publications and report, the owner did not like such a visit. An argument ensued between the men, during which the priest beat the Jehovah's Witness, causing a brain concussion.


The Putila district court found the priest guilty and punished him with a fine of 1,700 hryvnia. He was also ordered to compensate the victim 732 hryvnia for material damages and 3,500 hryvnia for moral damages.


The defendant denied his guilt, which was proven by expert analysis and testimony of eyewitnesses during the judicial session.


A similar incident occurred in 2005 when the Smela district prosecutor's office of Cherkassy province opened a criminal case against the priest Alexander Gladchenko, the rector of a UPTsMP church in the village of Berezniak for committing the crime identified by part 2 of article 161 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code ("violation of equality of rights of a citizen on the basis of their relation to religion"). The priest was accused of beating six Jehovah's Witnesses with a wooden stick. On 6 September 2005 the Smela district court ordered the case closed, granting the priest amnesty.


In 2012 representatives of the St John Chrysostom Apologetics Center, which was created in 2011 on the initiative of Archimandrite (now Bishoop) Iona (Cherepanova), the chairman of the synodal Department for Youth Affairs of the UPTs, conducted events in a number of Ukrainian districts aimed at disrupting the chief holiday of the church of Jehovah's Witnesses, the Day of Remembrance of the Last Supper.


In the same 2012, representatives of the Sumy diocese of the UPTsMP broke up a Baptist children's program in Sumy and ministers of the Crimean diocese of the UPTsMP wrecked an evangelism tent of the Seventh-Day Adventists Church. (tr. by PDS, posted 26 March 2016)

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