ROVNO AUTHORITIES ORDER ALTERNATING SERVICES FOR COMPETING PARISHES IN RURAL CHURCH
Religiia v Ukraine, 11 November 2016
On 9 November 2016, a document from the Rovno provincial chief arrived at the chancellery of the Rovno diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow patriarchate [UPTsMP], establishing alternating worship services of the parishes of the UPTsMP and UPTsKP in the house of worship in the village of Riasniki in Goshchansk district, Religiia v Ukraine reports, citing the website of the UPTs.
The aforesaid order was issued on 3 November and signed by the chairman of the Rovno provincial administration, Aleksei Mulyarenko.
"The Rovno provincial leadership has obediently fulfilled the instructions of the Kiev patriarchate, thereby placing the two religious confessions in deep opposition. The blame for conflicts that arise next in this village now will lie completely on Aleksei Mulyarenko, who, in making this decision, did not study at all the situation in Riasniki, where for more than two years believers of the UPTs have defended their right to worship legally in their own church," a hierarch of the UPTsMP, Metropolitan of Rovno and Ostrog Varfolomei, noted.
Recently he sent an appeal to the chairman of the Rovno provincial administration in which he said that the ceremonies of burial of service personnel of the Ukrainian armed forces, who died tragically in the past two years in the east of Ukraine, have been performed, in the main, by clergy of the UPTsMP, who are trying to ignore the Rovno provincial administration that invites to public memorial events only priests of the Kiev patriarchate.
"At the present time, there are in the village 20 families of adherents of the Kiev patriarchate, who constitute only 10 percent of the entire village. It turns out that the authorities have stopped taking into account the opinion of the majority," the UPTs website quotes its Archpriest Vasily Gotlib.
A rights advocate of the Rovno UPTsMP diocese, Ekaterina Ivaniuk, declares: "The text of the order of 3 November 2016 shows a preference for the religious parish of the UPTsKP of the village of Riasniki. Said actions fall under the purview of part 2 of article 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. . . ."
On 9 November a lawsuit was filed in the Rovno district administrative court in which the religious parish of the UPTsMP of the village of Riasniki asks that the actions of the chairman of the Rovno provincial administration be found to be illegal and their implementation be cancelled. In addition, the mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has already been informed of the official's decision and future judicial sessions have been requested. (tr. by PDS, posted 13 November 2016)
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