In Horlivka, a Seventh Day Adventist church seized, all property confiscated
On November 16 a group of people came to a house of worship of the Seventh Day Adventist Church of Horlivka, Donetsk region (from 2014 the area is not controlled by Ukraine) and said that from now then pursuant to the decree of their city administration a building located at 1 Horlivska Dyvisia was to be handed over to the municipal enterprise "Prostir".
At the same time, one of those who came and introduced himself as a prosecutor, said he had documents issued by local authorities granting him the right of disposal of the premises. Apart from the building, local authorities also confiscated all the property of the community placed in the house of prayer, including farm implements, equipment, furniture and library. The pastor of Horlivka community was only allowed to pick up his personal belongings.
On the same day, the prayer house in Horlivka was visited by the Adventist Church leadership from Donetsk to learn on the spot all the details of the developments.
As it turned out, the Seventh-day Adventist community of Horlivka up to that day had not received any reports of intentions from local authorities. The community was notified of the transfer of their building immediately at the time of seizure of the building. In addition, local authorities not put forward no requirements to the Church or to provide documents verifying the ownership either the day before, or on the day of confiscation.
As it turned out, a pretext to transfer the building to communal ownership is the lack of city administration documents confirming the SDA church to own the house. As Adventists point, for their part, they have done everything necessary to the administration of these documents have been.
Note that in September 2014, when Horlivka was already beyond the Ukrainian government’s control, armed men kidnapped Adventist pastor Serhiy Lytovchenko in the house of prayer during communion. The kidnappers justified their actions by saying “this is an Orthodox land and it has no place various sects.” The pastor was liberated from prison only after 20 days.
In 2014-16, city authorities of Horlivka often changed. During this time, the different groups made repeated attempts to seize the building of the Adventist house of worship. These incidents occurred despite the fact that the Adventists of Horlivka participated in humanitarian service to local residents, distributing clothing and food to the needy.