Musorivtsi village, Zbarazh district, Ternopil region

In this small in amount of residents locality there used to be an old church of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Village community by their own efforts managed to build a new sanctuary. Ioann Pyvovarchuk, beneficiary of the parish, supervised the construction process which lasted for 10 years.

While the church was being built there weren’t any disputes or misunderstanding between the people. However, once the sanctuary had been erected and the question arisen about its dedication service – it turned the tide. At that moment part of the parish wished the new sanctuary to belong to the Kyiv Patriarchate rather than the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. All in all, members of the only registered parish of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church were able to dedicate the newly built sanctuary as Pokrovsky Church.

On January 3rd 2010 after the Divine Liturgy was over a few dozen of young hefty men led by Mykhailo Holovko, an authorized delegate in Ternopil region of Oleh Tiahnybok, the then candidate for the presidency came from Ternopil accompanied by faction deputies of “Svoboda” pan-Ukrainian organization in Ternopil Regional Council in the face of Mykhailo Tymoshyk, Natalia Mandziuk, Volodymyr Karpinskyi and Sviatoslav Shvets, priest from the Kyiv Patriarchate. As for the congregation, they managed to lock the church door from within.

Then the church assault began. The attackers carrying breakages and axes were trying to force the entrance door of the church open. Simultaneously, they were thundering threats and extremist slogans. Local policemen who were watching this just turned their blind eyes and deaf ears to the barbarous action. On seeing desperate attempts of the raiders to break in militia major Tabaka directed them to the side door of acolyte’s section of the church.

The church was being assaulted with the slogans like “Moscals must be cut with knives!”, “Glory to heroes – death to enemies!” Young muscular guys began to push the side doors, broke the windows and started to hurl burnt items inward the church. The assault was led by Mykhailo Holovko, Ternopil municipal council deputy.

Through the open windows the intruders were beating parishioners, went on breaking the side door. This entire horrible spectacle was being witnessed by law enforcement authorities whose sole response was video recording. After the intruders succeeded in breaking the side door open they kept on beating the parishioners with sticks.

Under the hit squall the people inside the church were doing their best to cover the broken door. It wasn’t until one of the injured parishioners lost her consciousness and the ambulance arrived that the assault diminished. The young men left the church grounds thundering threats to come back with a bigger number of actors and to seize the church for sure at Christmas.

 

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”