Ukrainian churches fighting over allegiances


Interfax-Religiia, 1 August 2019


Representatives of the new church of Ukraine (PTsU) conducted a hostile takeover of the parish of St. John Chrysostom, which belongs to the uncanonical Kiev patriarchate in the village of Pivni of Fastov district of Kiev oblast, the press center of the UPTsKP reports.


Previously, it has been churches of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UPTs) that have been the object of takeover attacks on the part of the PTsU.


"Before the incident the former rector of the parish, priest Nikolai Zhurilo, began urging and trying by deceit to collect signatures of members of the parish and villagers to transfer the parish into the PTsU. . . . Patriarch of Kiev and all-Rus-Ukraine Filaret ordered the dismissal of priest Nikolai Zhurilo from the position of rector of the parish and he appointed a new rector, priest Nikolai Grebinchenko," the report says.


After this, it says further, there began in the village "psychological pressure and even threats and intimidation of members of the parish of the Kiev patriarchate with the goal of changing the church affiliation and transferring into the jurisdiction of the PTsU," and on 30 July representatives of the PTsU, led by the secretary of the Kiev diocese, arrived in Pivni in order to conduct the seizure of the church.


In the end, the same scenario was attempted in Pivni which has occurred during seizures of churches of the canonical church: a large number of people, around 100, were brought to the place, who are not either members of the religious parish or even residents of the village in question. With the help of this "active," a meeting was conducted and the creation of a new religious community was declared, now within the jurisdiction of the PTsU.


Later, representatives of Filaret arrived in Pivni. As a result, a confrontation between "clergy" of the PTsU and the UPTsKP occurred, particularly, as noted, "one of the oldest priests of the deanery, Archpriest Georgy Kushniruk, was severely injured. He was choked around his throat by Archpriest Mikhail Danilov of the Fastov deanery of the PTsU, until he lost consciousness, while another priest, Ivan Shtefiuk, twisted the priest's arms," The UPTsKP also reported that one of its priests had his nose broken.


"As a result of the raiding action by the PTsU, a new parish was created within the PTsU and the church building was seized. Believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate now do not have the possibility of attending and worshiping in their own home church," the UPTsKP press service emphasized.


It was reported that the day before, the head of the UPTsKP, Filaret Denisenko, sent to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky a request to protect the Kiev patriarchate from the hostile takeover of its property. Meanwhile on the same day, the Ministry of Culture officially confirmed the liquidation of the Kiev patriarchate. (tr. by PDS, posted 1 August 2019)

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