Cherkasy, Cherkasy Province, Ukraine, November 17, 2023
Armed representatives of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) and National Corps cordoned off a monastery in the central Ukrainian Cherkasy Province yesterday as activists from the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” were seizing the holy habitation.
Several dozen people broke into the territory of the Nativity of the Theotokos Monastery yesterday morning, where the diocesan vicar, His Eminence Archbishop John of Zolotonosha lives. The incident was reported by the diocesan press secretary Archpriest Anatoly Chertopolok to the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
Recall that the ruling hierarch of the Cherkasy Diocese, His Eminence Metropolitan Theodosy, is among the hierarchs who are being personally persecuted by the state. He has been under house arrest already since April, and was ordered on November 2 to remain for at least another two months.
The Cherkasy Diocese published a message yesterday in the midst of the monastery seizure, calling on the faithful to protect the monastery, after which, Fr. Anatoly reports, a number of Orthodox parishioners arrived.
Police also arrived on the scene but did nothing to stop the violent seizure.
Later, Archpriest George Pogranichny, the head of the diocesan legal department, reported that armed special forces, SBU officers, and representatives of the National Corps cordoned off the territory of the monastery.
By that time, OCU activists had already replaced the locks on the door and were waiting for Orthodox parishioners to arrive for the evening service.
Fr. Gregory said the raiders brought documents showing the church had been re-registered to the graceless schismatics, though it was based on a fake vote that had supposedly taken place at the monastery on August 10—no such meeting had been held.
The priest also noted that in addition to the activists, there were five “priests” of the OCU at the scene.
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