Belogorodka village, Dubno district, Rivne region

From the account of senior priest Vitaliy V. Chayka:

«Everything began when I decided to prepare all the church and land documents. On having learnt that, the head of the village council started to tell the villagers that I wanted purportedly to self-privatize the church.

After a while the village council head together with the head teacher from the local school initiated the sign-up in order to change the UOC jurisdiction in favor of the UOC-KP. It was followed by the session to agree on holding “referendum”.

On 28 September 2014 the “referendum” took place, the KP representatives carried the sign-up boxes, as a result of this “referendum” 320, the majority, signed up for the KP while the minority remained with the UOC.

On 29 September 2014 deputy head of Dubno military base Roman A.Dvorzhyk, the “Right Sector” members as well as the local military unit soldiers came to the church. They were equipped with bats and batons and intimidated me they would take me to ATO and burn my car.

The above mentioned persons began to beat and scatter the UOC parishioners, at this very time the school staff member Tatiana V. called someone and asked to assist with the church seizure. After she had made these calls, there came about 300 hard-line persons.

On 30 September 2014 the representatives of the Kyiv Patriarchate and the Right Sector broke into the church, tore off seals and cut off locks, intended to overturn my car. On that very day I packed things and left with my family to another village.

On 31 October 2014 we were to celebrate a festivity on the occasion of the church centenary, but my faithful parishioners called and warned me not to come to the village because the Right Sector people inspected every car at the entrance to the village to prevent me from coming to the church.

In August 2015 our community decided to build a new church. Since the village council refused to allocate a new land plot for the church building, it was agreed by the community to build it on the plot of one of the UOC believers. Still, the head of the village council is trying to hinder construction works refusing to make a decision on changing the designation purpose of the land plot…”

The community representatives submitted applications to the law enforcement authorities about opening criminal proceedings upon worship disruptions and illegal church seizure. Guilty persons who had perpetrated acts overt were identified, though not brought to justice; some of them are residents of the populated area described above.

 

To learn more about religious freedom infringements committed against the UOC believers you are encouraged to consult our detailed reports and statements:

  1. Collection of Information Materials and Documents “Facts, Evidence and Claims Regarding Violations of the Rights of Believers and Religious Organizations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in 2014-2016”.
  2. Written Statement of the NGO “Public Advocacy” within the United Nations 28th Universal Periodic Review on Ukraine.
  3. Written Statement of the NGO “Public Advocacy” on the violations against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church within the United Nations 37-th Regular Session.
  4. Statement of the NGO “Public Advocacy”