Below is a text of the written application of the head of religious community of St. Paraskeva parish of Rivne bishopric of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Chudnytsa village to law enforcement authorities on the subject of the church service disruption (following the church seizure)
Hoshcha District Municipal Department
Ministry of Home Affairs Administration, Ukraine
House 11, Zastavye Str., Hoshcha town
Hoshcha district, Rivne region
1) Religious community of St. Paraskeva parish of Rivne bishopric of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Chudnytsia village, Hoshcha district
Tserkovna Str., Chudnytsia village, Hoshcha district, Rivne region, 35424 2) Ivan P. Yaroshchuk – a physical person – participant of the church service 8a Shevchenko Str, Zhavriv village
Hoshcha district, Rivne region
on starting a criminal proceeding
01.03.2015 a religious community of St. Paraskeva parish of Rivne bishopric, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in Chudnytsia village of Hoshcha district were having a prayer service on the church stairs and reading the Acathistos to Godmother in front of the church that belongs to our community. Around 12.00, approximately 30 people (out of whom 20 were from Chudnytsia) came up to the congregation. These “visitors” approached us from different sides and began to grab and snatch our clothes, hair, hands, and using physical power they pushed us down off the stairs and pulled away from the prayer venue. The priest who was running the service (father Yuriy Hopanchuk) was pushed away from the service table. There were holy items on the table: the Icon, the New Testament and the Cross. The table was overturned with the items falling onto the ground. As a result, our faithful people were not able to finish their service: the priest had read the Acathistos up to the 6th song, the congregation were made to leave while the raiders began to break the door locks of the church building by means of an angle grinder.
Based on the evidence laid down,
- To start a criminal proceeding under Article 180 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
- To call the faithful congregation members who were directly involved in the event in the capacity of witnesses.
- To grant the above mentioned persons as well as other faithful people who participated in the disrupted service the status of the injured in the criminal case.
- To grant the religious community as a juridical person the status of the injured in the open criminal proceeding.
Head of the religious community
Since the seizure the UOC community has been holding its worship in the house near the church. In September 2015, representatives of the Kyiv Patriarchate nailed the door to the house, pointing out that they have ownership rights to it. Then the religious community of the UOC in protest against the illegal actions of the UOC-KP blocked the highway of international importance «Kyiv – Chop.» In this regard, the head of Hoshcha DMIA of Ukraine in Rivne region with the help of special equipment personally opened the doors of the house for the UOC community.
In October 2015, the court invalidated the ownership title of the Kyiv Patriarchate to the church building, and the right of use of land under it. Repealed documents were unlawfully issued by representatives of the UOC-KP with the direct support of the head of Krasnoselsk village council and the head of Dubno district council.
To learn more about religious freedom infringements committed against the UOC believers you are encouraged to consult our detailed reports and statements:
- 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”.
- Written Statement of the NGO “Public Advocacy” within the United Nations 28th Universal Periodic Review on Ukraine.
- Written Statement of the NGO “Public Advocacy” on the violations against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church within the United Nations 37-th Regular Session.
- Statement of the NGO “Public Advocacy”