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Men in military uniform seized monastery of U…

Men in military uniform seized monastery of Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Cherkasy

DECR Communication Service, 20/11/2023

On November 20, the Monastery of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos in Cherkasy city, Ukraine, was forcibly seized, pravlife.org reported, citing the Press Service of the Cherkasy Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The assailants were beating up the worshippers, grabbing and smashing people’s phones to prevent them from recording the attack. The Diocese of Cherkasy estimated the number of the raiders as close to 150.

The attackers beat up Priest Serhiy Pashchenko, a cleric of the monastery, and broke his lower jaw, as was diagnosed by the medical professionals who arrived at the scene.

Several other people who tried to defend the monastery were injured too and brought to the Third City Hospital. However, members of a nationalist group blocked all entrances to the hospital, preventing access to the injured even for doctors.

At noon, the Diocese of Cherkasy Press Service published the following post on social network: “Some thirty parishioners are now praying outside the Monastery of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos. More raiders and policemen are now at the scene. The monastery has been seized, the brethren and the abbot expelled.”

As the Union of Orthodox Journalists reports, the attackers were going through monastic cells, breaking doors. As the abbot of the monastery, Archbishop John of Zolotonosha, said, he had received threats and demands for money and some “gold.” According to dozor_kozak1 Telegram channel, the raiders are dividing the monastery’s property between themselves.

Earlier, on November 16, 2023, special operations officers, officials of the Security Service of Ukraine and members of nationalist groups, all armed, had already tried to seize the monastery, showing documents to the abbot concerning the monastery’s “re-registration” under the jurisdiction of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.” On November 18, the religious community of the Cherkasy Monastery of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos held a meeting and unanimously confirmed its allegiance to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

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