A church scandal broke out in the Ternopil region. A lively discussion arose on social networks due to the fact that the other day law enforcement officers allegedly came to the Kremenets Theological School and, at a time when the weather was frosty outside, insisted that students urgently leave the premises.

What is known about the scandal

"At 6:00 a.m., the Kremenets St. Nicholas Cathedral, on the territory of which the choir director school is located, was surrounded by the police," the UOC (MP) reported.

And they added: "Everyone who was in the premises of the school, and these are mostly girls, was demanded to leave the premises immediately. The police broke into the cells where the pupils of the school lived and were still sleeping at that time, and forcibly insisted on the urgent collection of personal belongings. The security forces were not even bothered by the fact that the temperature in the yard at this time was below zero. A police spokesman said that he had received an order to clear the premises and that he would comply with this order. Some girls in a state of stress locked themselves in their cells. In response, the security forces threaten to break down the door and forcibly remove it from the premises."

St. Nicholas Cathedral / Photo: Main Directorate of the National Police in Ternopil Oblast

As the rector of the cathedral, Father Vasyl, said in a commentary for TSN.ua, the clergy hoped that the resolution of the issue would be peaceful.

"Their move is strange, incomprehensible and cruel for us. Right at six o'clock, when the children were sleeping, they broke in. Locks were cut. They did not act in the Ukrainian way, not according to conscience. Probably, they did it because they did not want to do it in the presence of those people who could gather. Horror. Students were sent to the basement, to the bomb shelter of the dormitory," the rector said.

St. Nicholas Cathedral

Police Explanation

In turn, the Ternopil Regional Police Headquarters said that the police ensured the protection of public order during the execution of the court decision on St. Nicholas Cathedral in Kremenets.

"The court ordered the religious community to return the St. Nicholas Cathedral with cells of the XVI-XVII centuries, which is in Kremenets, the Kremenets-Pochayiv State Historical and Architectural Reserve. The total area is 1,756.0 square meters," the press service of the Main Directorate of the National Police in the Ternopil region reported.

According to the police, the agreement on the free use of the premises of St. Nicholas Cathedral and other state-owned facilities by the religious community of the UOC expired on February 12, 2023.

St. Nicholas Cathedral in Kremenets

"Despite the court decisions, the clergy of the UOC refused for several months to transfer the premises of the architectural monument to the Kremenets-Pochaev State Historical and Architectural Reserve. On the territory of the cathedral, there was a choir director's school. Today, students and teachers were transported to pre-prepared premises, where they will be able to continue their studies," the police of the Ternopil region reported.

Summing up, the police added: "Police psychologists, dialogue police communicated with people who were on the territory of the shrine. They were all given the opportunity to legally leave the territory of the temple. No one used physical force or coercive measures against people, everything happened exclusively in the legal field."

Recall that in Kremenets, Ternopil region, the state executive service, together with law enforcement officers, evicted representatives of the UOC-MP from the historic St. Nicholas Cathedral and a complex of buildings near it on November 30.