Musorivtsi Village Council to Pass Land under Disputed Church to Kyivan Patriarchate
TERNOPIL — On January 14, 2010, the session of the village council of Musorivtsi, Zbarazh District, Ternopil Region, decided to pass the land on which a disputed church is built to the community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP). Nine of the thirteen deputies voted for this and four abstained. However, the conflict over the church in Musorivtsi is not limited to the dispute between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) and UOC-KP. It has turned out that no permission was granted to authorize the construction of the church, which, according to the village council, means that it is an uncontrolled construction.
“The session of the village council decided to grant the land below the church to the community of the Kyivan Patriarchate. The decision comes into effect within ten days of its passing. The decision provides grounds for drawing up appropriate documents for the church building. Now the land managing organization should develop a draft for the allocation of the land lot. Later the draft is to be approved by a session of the village council and pass the lot into permanent use for the preparation of the appropriate state act. Officially, the church does not exist, but disputes are sparked at each service. During every service the police is summoned stated Ivan Harmatiuk, the village council head.
The dispute over the church arose when the building was completed at the expense of the whole village and then the community began to clarify to which denomination it should belong. As a result, on January 3 it ended with representatives of the Kyivan Patriarchate trying to enter the building by force and their opponents trying to stop them. It ended with a clash with the participation of visiting representatives of the organization Svoboda. According to rumors, visiting guards from Pochayiv keep vigils in the church.
“Bars were installed on the windows to prevent anyone from entering. The communities quarrel and the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate shows more aggression. They also accuse us all the time,” said Harmatiuk.
Indeed, representatives of the UOC-MP believe that the village council supports the Kyivan Patriarchate. “The head of the village council plays an active role in creating the conflict situation as he supports the position of the UOC-KP. He used a large hammer to remove the locks on the church doors. When they did not succeed in entering the church by force, he resorted to various insinuations saying that the UOC community has no documents for the construction of the church. In reality, our community has the whole package of documents,” said Fr. Stepan Balan, who acted as a temporary senior priest of the parish.
Fr. Stepan says that at the village meeting, held on the initiative of UOC-KP and the authorities, according to him, a prudent decision was made for the UOC-KP to conduct services in the old church. “The decision was signed and agreed by representatives of the regional and district authorities and representatives of the UOC community. However, at the last moment, the UOC-KP representative, Fr. Sviatoslav Shvets, contrary to the will of the village, flatly refused to sign it and disabled the beginning of the settlement of the conflict,” said Fr. Balan.
However, his words contradict not only the words of the village council head but also of Oleh Ostrovskyj, the head of the Zbarazh District State Administration, and Ihor Kulchytskyj, the head of the Department on Religions and Nationalities of the Regional State Administration. Both say that UOC-MP does not agree to alternate services. Apparently, the UOC-MP does not take into account that the village council and deputies were elected by the villagers themselves. And according to the village council head and the head of the Department on Religions and Nationalities of the Regional State Administration, the parishioners of the Kyivan Patriarchate in Musorivtsi constitute the majority.