Kiev, March 1, Interfax - About 3,000 believers of the Moscow Patriarchate's Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) gathered near the Volyn regional administration building in Lutsk for prayers to protect their rights.
Metropolitan Vladimir of Volyn and Kovel and Bishop Nafanail of Volyn and Lutsk led the protest, the information educational department of the Moscow Patriarchate's UOC said.
Orthodox Christians prayed for Ukraine and peace in this country, handed a petition to the regional leadership demanding to influence the situation in several UOC dioceses in populated localities of the Volyn Region.
"While seizing our churches flagrant cases of instigating the religious strife and hatred, insulting the feelings of people in connection with their religious beliefs, attacks on priests and believers, and providing the distorted information about us and the criminal activity of law enforcement agencies were reported," the petition reads.
Public officials actually help seize churches, for instance, putting stamps of the local rural council on false protocols of meetings, which allegedly decided to join the new church, and sometimes attack the OUC churches and break down the locks of their doors, frequently in the presence of law enforcement officers, according to authors of the petition.
Protests called for "stopping arbitrariness," bringing public officials, who meddle in religious affairs, to justice, and stopping acts of aggression against the OUC monasteries and churches in the Volyn Region.