Parishioners of the only church in the village of Preobrazhenka, in the Kherson Oblast in southern Ukraine, have decided to join the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate.
The village church is more than 100 years old, but it has begun to celebrate liturgy in Ukrainian only recently, when local parishioners decided to transfer their church from the Moscow Patriarchate to the Kyiv one.
The villagers say they were offended by their former priest’s bigotry and reached their decision at a community meeting after the priest refused to pray for fellow countrymen who are protecting their country in the ATO zone.
Father Bohdan, the new priest, reports that representatives of the Moscow patriarchate tried to prevent the transfer of the church and organized various provocations, including visits by priests from Moscow, who tried to frighten the villagers with “medieval curses.”
Representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate say they are surprised by the decision of the villagers and deny all accusations against their clergy. They insist the transfer of the church to a different denomination was not conducted properly.
However, officials at the Kyiv Patriarchate report that the number of parishes transferring to their denomination in the southern oblast is growing steadily.