Three Ukrainian churches vandalized

Provocative graffiti appeared around three Ukrainian Orthodox churches in Lvov over the weekend, accusing the clergy and faithful of the canonical Church of being agents of the Russian government, reports the Ukrainian site Capital.

As the site reports, the Lvov city branch of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists “gleefully” reported the news on their Facebook page, calling the parishes of the canonical Church “so-called ‘churches’” and referring to the perpetrators as “patriots.”

The graffiti, appearing on walls, rocks, and the ground around the churches reads, “The Moscow Patriarchate—a branch of the FSB.”

Another church in Lvov was vandalized in late October in similar fashion, being pasted with images of Joseph Stalin with the inscription, “The true canonical name of the Moscow Orthodox Church is ‘Stalin’s Patriarchate.’”

The FSB is the Russian Federal Security Service. The Ukrainian nationalists also write that they believe there are three branches of the FSB working in Lvov under the guise of Christian churches.

Commenting for, the speaker of the Lvov Diocese, Fr. Markian Kayumov, noted, “We consider that this was done not by patriots but provocateurs.”

In response to the late October vandalism, the Lvov Diocese called on vandals to cease attacking churches, reminding them of the 5th paragraph of the recent statement from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in which its Holy Synod “appeal[s] to all sides involved that they avoid appropriation of churches, monasteries, and other properties as well as every other act of violence and retaliation so that he peace and love of Christ may prevail.”

A Facebook page dedicated to demonizing Ukrainian priests in Lvov as Russian agents appeared last year, stating, “Our group asks all who are not indifferent to send information here about all activities of the Moscow Patriarchate in the Lvov Province known to you, in particular about individual parishes and their location,” claiming that such parishes lead people astray into the hands of Moscow. “By collecting this information, we here in this group will develop a plan to counter this anti-Ukrainian organization,” the statement, pinned to the top of the page, continues.

Further: “The tumor of the Moscow Orthodox Church has spread throughout Ukraine… It is time to say ‘no’ to Moscow Orthodoxy, and to send their priests to their ‘historical homeland’…”

The aim of this Facebook group is reflected in Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s recent statement that the canonical Ukrainian Church has no place in Ukraine and its people should leave for Russia.