Moscow, October 16, 2015
"Unfortunately, this is by no means the first time that so-called "Kiev Patriarchate" representatives have used force to illegally seize Orthodox churches on long-suffering Ukrainian land," Legoyda was quoted by his press office as saying.
The fact that "Filaret followers" deliberately chose the Intercession of the Virgin Mary Day for ousting the town's Orthodox residents from their own church, thus leaving them unable to perform a collective prayer on the occasion, is "an eloquent testament" to the moral image of the invaders, Legoyda said.
"The "Kiev Patriarchate" representatives have turned canonical church seizures into "a kind of ordinary criminal activity to which the authorities are systematically turning a blind eye," the Church spokesman said.
Whereas before reports of such incidents came from the western and central parts of Ukraine, this one is from a parish in the country's east where an absolute majority of believers are adherents of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Legoyda said.
It is odd that the canonical church believers, who form a majority in Ukraine, "are increasingly being discriminated against as second-class citizens," he said.