Metropolitan of Kryvyi Rih and Nikopol Ephrem sent an open letter addressed for the head of Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration V.M. Reznichenko regarding the situation in the village of Chumaky of Pyatykhatky district, Dnipropetrovsk region (Kryvyi Rih eparchy).
The chairman of Regional State Administration has been addressed with a request to counteract inter-faith confrontation stirred by representatives of the so called “Kyiv Patriarchate” in the village of Chumaky.
Below is a full text of the open letter.
“We were compelled to appeal to you in view of the distressing and disappointing events developing around the village of Chumaky of Pyatykhatky district. A religious community led by senior protopriest Ivan Yusypovych recovered an old Orthodox sanctity for years and years after times of irreligious adversity. To date a handful of ambitious people led by deputy of the Verkhovna Rada Yuriy Bereza and farmers V.G. Baisar and S.V. Zhydko make believe a religious confrontation in order to illegally seize the church and let it under jurisdiction of the so called “Kyiv Patriarchate” being unrecognized in the Orthodox world. Prior to that there had been made numerous threats to inflict bodily harm to the senior priest as well as shown inappropriate behavior by farmer V.G. Baisar.
Taking into account these incidents, on 9 September 2015 beneficiary of Pyatykhatky district, protopriest Oleksandr Ponomarenko held a general parish assembly of the religious community of Saint Nicolas Church in the village of Chumaky of Pyatykhatky district which was attended by 82 people who unanimously confirmed their affiliation with the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. However, despite this fact on 11 September 2015 another conflict was brought about by farmer V.G. Baisar who expressed disregard for the clergymen and the faithful in a humiliating way using obscene words in his threats. All endeavors to shoot the trouble peacefully were futile.
Nowadays when our Ukraine is going through hard times, when the country’s best men die in the East sacrificing their lives for peace and unity of the whole country, when the clergy maintain aspirations of the people towards peace and rest, certain persons mentioned before under the slogan of pretended “patriotism” tend to satisfy their ambitions by means of ruining churchly peace and public rest.
Referring to the Law of Ukraine “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations” we would like to remind that according to
Article 17 of the Law it is prohibited to arbitrarily seize church property or take over places of worship. As for the decision about changing of jurisdiction by the community, such decision can be taken solely by the members of parish assembly chaired by the senior priest of the church.
Assuming further quite numerous calls to take over the church and pursuing the aim of preventing interdenominational confrontation and bloodshedding, we request and call you to approach this statement with proper understanding and take a relevant decision that could put a stop to arbitrary and illegal seizures of places of worship and church property.
We hope you will consider this issue with genuine concern and make your contribution to maintaining peace and rest throughout our Dnipropetrovsk land”.
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”