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Authorities in the village near Kiev deprive the&n…

Authorities in the village near Kiev deprive the canonical Church’s faithful of their places of worship

DECR Communication Service, 02.05.2022. 

On the eve of Pascha, Mr. Vladimir Lutskov, chair of the territorial community of Peskovka urban village, Bucha district of Kievan region, blocked entries to the churches of St. John the Theologian and St. Seraphim of Sarov – the two churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Сhurch in the village. He was supported by local deputies and aggressively minded activists. The faithful were prevented from celebrating the Bright Resurrection of Christ in their church buildings and even in the church yards.

Archpriest Georgy Pustovit, rector of the church of St. John the Theologian, informed the Information and Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that Mr. Lutskov seized the church building by foul means on Holy and Great Saturday.

According to Fr. Georgy, Mr. Lutskov, his team members, deputies and ‘activists” came to the church and began to transfer it to the OCU. “But the police were called well in advance, over fifty of our parishioners gathered together and an agreement was reached on Paschal service to be celebrated and on dealing with the problem later. Our parishioners began going away, but the chairman of the village council came back with aggressive local activists, and they seized the church. Chains with a lock were put on the door; I was chased out of the church yard; they threatened me and the parishioners, who were trying to defend the church, with physical violence.”

Fr. Georgy added that when he and parishioners came to celebrate the festive service at least in the yard, V. Lutskov said ‘no’ and threatened them with ‘bloodshed’ in case of an attempt to enter the church.

Also, he did not allow the faithful to enter the church of St. Seraphim of Sarov – another church of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the urban village.

‘These activists led by the chairman were there at five on the Saturday morning. They closed the gates and the church and forbade the priest to celebrate. People with Paschal baskets were coming to the church; the chairman stood at the gates and did not allow them to enter, but offered to ride them to a ‘priest’ of the OCU. Their church was built in the village last year. But people turned away from him, saying “We have our own priest and will not go anywhere else.” Thus the faithful in our village were left without the blessing of Paschal baskets.

According to Fr. Georgy, these events were accompanied by threats against the faithful and the priest. “I do not live in this urban village, but I have been serving at the parish here for twenty-eight years. As the threats of violence were uttered against me, the parishioners decided to take me out of the village. Indeed, there were three cars with the armed activists inside waiting at the village’s exit. Had I tried to leave the village by myself, God knows what could have happened to me.”

Vladimir Lutskov forbade the priest to come to the urban village and is doing his best to leave the community without churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. “At present the activists control all roads leading to the village and to the church. Praise be to God, I managed to take away the antimension and the holy vessels,” said the rector of the Peskovka parish of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The villagers say that the local forest farm’s director has joined these lawless actions. He threatens to fire his workers for defending the church of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church or attending divine services there.


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