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Media: Moscow Patriarchate members in Chernivtsi Oblast attempt to obstruct funeral for fallen soldier
Members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate temporarily obstructed a memorial service for a fallen soldier from entering a church in Chernivtsi Oblast, local media outlet Molodyi Bukovynets reported on April 5.
Mourners came to the church in Zadubrivka, a village located to the north of Chernivtsi city, and were forced to wait outside for one hour.
According to a parishioner quoted by Suspilne, members of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine have documents allowing them to use the church.
A group of people attempted to enter the church from a side entrance only to be met by three men and a priest who used fire extinguishers to try and stop them, Suspilne wrote.
The group managed to enter the church and removed a crowbar that had been placed on the main door of the church, allowing the mourners to enter with the body of the fallen soldier.
The Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which was granted autocephaly (ecclesiastical independence) by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople in January 2019, is not to be confused with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Recently, Kyiv ordered the religious leaders from the Moscow Patriarchate to leave the premises of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, the church's stronghold.
Multiple cities in Ukraine have revoked the land rights of churches belonging to the Moscow Patriarchate or prohibited them from continuing to hold services.
The Khmelnytskyi Сity Сouncil and the Kamianets-Podilskyi City Council revoked the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate's land rights on April 4, the former after a military officer was assaulted at their place of worship.
Ukraine has long accused the Moscow Patriarchate's representatives in Ukraine of serving as the Kremlin's propaganda arm on the religious front.
A priest of the Moscow-controlled church was charged by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on April 4 with blessing Russian soldiers during the occupation of Kharkiv Oblast.