Mother Agapia, a well known monastic in ROCOR under Metropolitan Agafangel has written to other members of her Church to inform them of the festering situation over the MP attempts to seize the Malin parish. The update has already had some circulation. Below is what Mother Agapia has written:
THE SITUATION IN MALIN CONTINUES TO FESTER
Unfortunately, the Moscow Patriarchate continues to harass our Holy Protection parish in Malin, Ukraine. MP agents interrupted the Divine Liturgy, Sunday, July 8. The local police permitted them to enter the church claiming that they, the police, could not distinguish the regular parishioners from the outside agitators. The MP saw the Peter Paul Holy Day, July 12, as another opportunity to interrupt the Divine Liturgy. Once again, MP agents tried to enter the church. But this time, our parishioners stood guard at the door and only allowed fellow parishioners into the church. Unable to enter the church, the MP representatives performed two religious processions. More ominously, they openly threatened our parishioners with severe reprisals at the hands of local Ukrainian Cossacks. Not surprisingly, the local police took no action against those trying to disturb the Divine Liturgy. Our parishioners sent a complaint about the refusal of the police to take action to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
In this standoff, the two sides are changing their tactics. In light of the success of our parishioners in holding a service on Peter and Paul, MP provocateurs showed up early on Sunday, July 15. A group of approximately 25 were waiting at the church before it opened. In addition, two minivans filled with MP-supporting Cossacks pulled up to the church as Father Vasily arrived to open the church. Once again, the police refused to intervene. Rather than risk opening the church doors to these would-be church seizers, Father Vasily opted to hold an Akathist to the Theotokos in front of the locked doors of the church.
In response to the events in Malin, Metropolitan Agafangel sent a request July 10 to both the Procurator in Zhitomyr Oblast and to the General Procurator in Ukraine to file charges against Metropolitan Vissarion for organizing criminal efforts to seize the church in Malin, property that does not belong to Met Vissarion or the MP.
The MP can get away with this because Ukraine is a country where the rule of law is practiced intermittently. The MP has far more influence than ROCA and can use that influence to make sure that the police do not interfere. At the same time, Father Vasily has built enough good will in Malin so that the police do not intervene on the side of the MP. Please pray for Father Vasily and his stalwart parishioners. Pray too for the enlightenment of those who see honor in harassing Orthodox Christians at prayer.
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