Police restricted access to church in Ptycha village, Rivne region
In Rivne region, the regional leaders and representatives of security agencies held a closed meeting, where they decided to restrict access to the Church of Assumption of the Holy Theotokos in the village of Ptycha both to believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), and the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate.]
It has been reported by Radio Liberty.
The adoption of such resolution was prompted by confrontations between representatives of the two denominations, which burst out in the evening of December 18 in the church yard, according to Deputy Head of the National Police Main Directorate in Rivne region Vitaliy Zaslavsky.
Widespread media reports of persecution of activists of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) have not been confirmed by police. Head of the Right Sector in Rivne Roman Koval believes the information on participation in clashed of representatives of this political force to be a provocation.
Now about 200 police officers are on guard by the church walls. Women who started a hunger strike in the church had not been persuaded to leave the premises as of 17:00. Around 200 supporters of the UOC (MP) stay near the temple, their cars carry Volyn region numbers.
The conflict for the church building in the village of Ptycha, Dubno district, has lasted more than a year since the vast majority of the villagers voted for transition under the Kyiv Patriarchate’s jurisdiction. The reason for the departure of the UOC (MP) people called the behavior of a priest who remembered Patriarch Kirill at the Liturgy and prayed for mobilized to the leave the premises as travelers and not as military servicemen.
The court proceedings continue throughout the year. The UOC (MP) won the case at the Court of Appeal in the dispute for the premises, as the Statute of the religious community specifies that in the event of liquidation of the community, the church building shall be transferred to the diocese. People say they did not know about this paragraph of the Statute and note that church was built by their grandparents.
As Ptycha village chairman Yaroslav Voznyuk told Radio Svoboda, on November 18, the session of the village council approved the recommendatory decision about alternate worship in the Assumption Church, but the UOC (MP) representatives filed an appeal with the administrative court. The case is pending before the court. Representatives of churches in turn broke the locks on the church and came into the premises. A week before the fight, the UOC-KP faithful had prayed at the church.
Deputy Chairman of Rivne Regional State Administration Yuriy Pryvarskyy said that the government would not interfere in interchurch relations, but convened the regional defense counsel and invited representatives of both churches there. The agreement was not reached.
In protest against the intention of the Kyiv Patriarchate parishioners to perform alternate service in the church, their opponents blocked the international highway Kyiv-Chop several times this year.