THE LATEST ON MALIN
Moscow Patriarchate efforts to take ROCA’s church in Malin continue unabated. On Monday, July 16, representatives of the MP performed three unsanctioned religious processions at the church in order to demoralize our parishioners. In the course of the day five to ten minibuses were parked near the church filled with “red cossacks” ready to seize the church. The next day, Metropolitan Agafangel sent a letter to Ukrainian authorities and to the mass media which said the following:
“I am asking your urgent assistance in preventing the raider seizure of the Holy Protection Church in the town of Malin, Zhitomir region (3, Sobornaya St., tel of the Rector Vasily Demchenko, 0413353182, 0972891070) on the part of Moscow Patriarchate representatives, (which is) scheduled for Sunday, July 22, 2012 (the seizure may be attempted at any time). The invaders have no documents entitling them to such action, inasmuch as the owner of the church is the community that in 2002 joined the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (the community has all the relevant documents). The Moscow Patriarchate has already made 9 attempts to seize the Church. These illegal actions are currently headed by Metropolitan Vissarion of Ovruch (Stretovych) with the connivance of the regional and district authorities, the police and the prosecutor’s office.”
The MP’s efforts to seize the church Sunday, July 22 were unsuccessful thanks to the large number of ROCA parishioners present. With the blessing of MP Metropolitan Vissarion, representatives of the MP conducted yet another religious procession at the church July 22. The MP also had on hand two minibuses filled with cossacks under the control of Colonel General Leonid Demenchuka, the Ataman of the Drevlyanskiy Interregional District. The minibuses were accompanied by several sedans. Metropolitan Agafangel’s website notes that the head of the Malin police, Colonel M. V. Starovoit, is working with those who would seize the church, advising them on how to accomplish their task. This current effort to seize the church has lasted already more than 20 days, starting July 1, with the help of local and oblast officials including the procurator and the police.