Kyiv demonstrators protest against Moscow Patriarchate's Ukraine branch
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Hundreds of Kyiv demonstrators protested against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate near one of its chapels on Feb. 3.
The demonstrators gathered to demand authorities verify the legality of the chapelâs construction and to support architects Oleksandr Ho rban and Oleksii Shemotiuk, accused of trying to set the chapel on fire on Jan. 25. Both have been arrested.
Supporters of the Moscow Patriarchate also gathered to defend the chapel.
The construction of the chapel on Volodymyrska Street was finished in 2006 near the remains of the foundation of Desiatynna Church on the territory of Kyivâs National Museum of Ukrainian History.
A boy holds a sign âFree architectsâ at the protest against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate near its chapel on Volodymyrska St. on Feb. 3. (Vlad Krasinskiy)
In November, activists created a petition on Kyiv City Councilâs website demanding the chapelâs demo lition. The petition has 10,000 signatures and will be considered by the Kyiv City Council.
After activists of Ð¡-14, Traditions and Order and Falcon groups took down an information desk near the chapel on Jan. 25, police detained Horban and Shemotiuk for allegedly attempting to set the building on fire.
On Jan. 27, Kyivâs Shevchenko District Court ordered two months of arrest for both Horban and Shemotiuk with a Hr 2.2 million bail each as pre-trial detention. Horban and Shemotiuk are accused of intentional destruction or property damage. If found guilty, they face up to 10 years in prison.
The demonstrators gathered near the chapel on Volodymyrska Street to demand an investigation into the legality of the Moscow Patriarchateâs construction and the release of Horban and Shemotiuk.
People brought signs with inscriptions like âGo away Moscow priestâ and âAn arson that never happened.â
Meanwhile, the parishioners of the chapel gathered a prayer service to confront the protesters and to support the Moscow Patriarchateâs branch in Ukraine.
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