Chechelievka, Kirovograd Province, Ukraine, November 14, 2023
The wave of violent church seizures by schismatics, often with the help of police and local authorities, continues throughout Ukraine.
At least two incidents occurred on Saturday, November 11. In one, a man attacked a woman who is 7-months pregnant.
That day, unknown men in camouflage and balaclava masks broke down the doors and seized the Holy Protection Church of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the village of Chechelievka, Kirovograd Province, parishioners told the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
A legal battle over the church has been going on for four years already. Until recently, the UOC parish and the schismatics had agreed that no one would enter the church until the matter was settled, with the Orthodox faithful worshipping in an adapted room on the territory of the church.
According to eyewitnesses, police and SBU officers participated in the violent takeover.
“The parishioners of the church have dead and missing husbands in the war, and this is what is happening,” the faithful say.
Another incident occurred the same day, in the village of Lug, Transcarpathia, when Uniates, schismatics, and employees of a security company, with the support of a police, cut the locks and seized the Church of the Holy Spirit, parishioners reported to the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
During the seizure, a man in military uniform, later identified as the head of the security company, physically assaulted a pregnant woman who was trying to protect her priest. Police officers refused to take a statement from her.
The Orthodox community celebrated the Sunday Divine Liturgy the next day in the yard at the rector’s house.
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