The faithful of Holy Dormition Church in the village of Mikhalcha in the Chernivtsi Province of Ukraine have been keeping a round-the-clock prayer vigil in defense of their church for a year now.
During that time, they have endured insults, beatings, vandalism, pressure, and physical and legal threats, but their faith has only become more steadfast they say.
“Today [February 9], the Ukrainian Orthodox Church prayerfully honors the memory of the holy New Martyrs and Confessors who in times of trouble suffered at the hands of the godless authorities in the previous century. There are no coincidences,” a report from the Chernivtsi Diocese emphasizes.
“Now we see how modern confessors on Earth pray to the holy Confessors who preserved the purity of the faith and the Orthodox Church at the cost of their lives and passed it on to us,” the report continues.
Throughout the year, the canonical faithful have suffered many mockeries from the godless authorities and enemies of the Church, beatings, slander, broken Church doors, the dismissal of teachers, the bullying of children in school, lawsuits, and constant insults. One of the main schismatic activists in the village and the initiator of the problems for the UOC community is the village chairman Zacharian Ivanovich Shevchuk.
“However, despite all the trials, the religious community of the Holy Dormition Church in the village of Mikhalcha became even more friendly and more rigid in their faith and religious beliefs,” the diocesan statement reads.
The faithful of the Holy Dormition Church reflect upon their year of keeping vigil, saying:
A year ago, none of us knew what would happen next. But at the Liturgy exactly a year ago, the faithful of the UOC were sure of one thing: We will remain faithful to the Mother Church and His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry! We are prepared for anything to preserve the purity of the Orthodox faith!
Our community has experienced a lot; glory to God for all things!
This Sunday is as sunny as it was a year ago, but this year it is also joyful! We may not know what will happen next, just like last year, but we know the most important thing: We will remain faithful to Christ! And this year, the ignorance of what will happen next only makes us more confident on our way—the way of defending the faith of Christ, the faith of our ancestors, the right to pray in the language in which our grandfathers and great-grandfathers prayed!
We bow before all those who have been putting their affairs on the back burner for a year, with our church in the first place!
Thank you to everyone who gives a fraternal helping hand when the situation is exacerbated!
Thank you for every word of your prayers for us sinners!
God save you for our support!
We wish everyone patience, humility, and love for all! Let peace reign between us.