Verbychne village, Turiysk district, Volyn region

Verbychne village, Turiysk district, the rector of the Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God Archpriest Vladimir Greben was publicly accused of ordering to paint over the emblem of Ukraine on the church gate. It even came to an inquiry of the Deputy Head of Volyn Regional Council, Alexander Pyrozhyk, a member of the «Svoboda» party, to law enforcement bodies to investigate the provocation and outrage upon the state symbol – in the version of that political power.

According to the rector of the church, provocations indeed have taken place in the village, and he managed to inform the appropriate authorities about them. As Father Vladimir explained, the Orthodox community has been living quietly so far until a few «activists» appear, one of whom is going to run for the post of the head of the village council this autumn, which includes Verbychne. A month ago, as it happens traditionally before the seizure of Ukrainian Orthodox churches, they even initiated a village assembly on the denomination jurisdiction of the church, which, however, had no legal consequences.

A memorable «painting over the emblem of Ukraine» was the scheduled maintenance: the church fence around the premises has been newly repainted in blue. No emblem was painted over on the fence: the upper bar at the gate had been made yellow-blue before, and during the regular overhaul it was covered with another layer of paint. Time will tell if law enforcement bodies see anything criminal in it.

When the «hot» publications came out in Volyn press, the believers honored Holy Maccabean Martyrs, the great Orthodox holiday. As it turned out, that very a village meeting on reforming the village council was held in Verbychne. Of course, newly appeared political activists took a chance with the occasion to change the discussion into the denomination field, but in vain: all their initiatives proved useless for the villagers.

According to Father Vladimir, who has served the Orthodox community of the village for 38 years, the present church-political core group of activists is strongly connected with the political party «Svoboda», whose representatives – let us recall – read out a «sensational» inquiry of deputy during the session of Volyn regional council on August 14, 2015.


To learn more about religious freedom infringements committed against the UOC believers you are encouraged to consult our detailed reports and statements:

  1. Collection of Information Materials and Documents “Facts, Evidence and Claims Regarding Violations of the Rights of Believers and Religious Organizations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in 2014-2016”.
  2. Written Statement of the NGO “Public Advocacy” within the United Nations 28th Universal Periodic Review on Ukraine.
  3. Written Statement of the NGO “Public Advocacy” on the violations against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church within the United Nations 37-th Regular Session.
  4. Statement of the NGO “Public Advocacy”