Sumy (an industrial city in northeastern Ukraine), September 22, 2014
Unlawful actions directed against the property of Orthodox communities have become more frequent in the Sumy region of the Ukraine, reports Interfax-Religion with the reference to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s press service.
“The criminals took away icons and financial donations that the church communities had collected for rendering aid to the forced settlers from Donbass and the Lugansk region as well as for church needs. Property damage has been inflicted on rather poor rural communities which in most cases unite the people of advanced age,” the message reads.
In this connection, Archbishop Evlogy of Sumy and Okhtyrka appealed to head of the department of the Ministry for Internal Affairs in the Sumy region Anatoly Richkal with a request to take control over the investigation of these crimes as well as “to contribute to protection of Orthodox residents from unlawful encroachments”.
The following message was also published on the diocesan website on September 20:
“In the evening of September 20, 2014, before the beginning of the festal service on the feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God, in the public garden near the monument to Taras Shevchenko situated in the immediate vicinity of the Transfiguration Cathedral, socio-political organizations were holding mass events. The events’ participants made groundless accusations against the Church, as well as calls for violence against the faithful, their churches and church property.
Police officers who were present at the event did not react to these extremist actions; they did, however, actively oppose the attempts of some Sumy residents to express their indignation at what they had heard.”
“In spite of the active involvement of the Sumy Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the public life of the Sumy region and the Ukraine in general, certain political forces are constantly striving to create an artificial conflict, groundlessly accusing Orthodox believers of “lack of patriotism”, offending their religious sentiments and human dignity. Numerous appeals to police have yielded no results either,” the message also reads.