UOC (ROC-affiliated) parishioners in Lutsk try to prevent journalists from entering a church
In Lutsk, two women tried to prevent Konkurent NA journalists from entering the Church of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos (UOC, affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church). First, the journalists were told that they would not be allowed in, and then they were advised to get a permission to film.
The incident happened on April 4, Konkurent journalist Lyudmila Rospopa reported to the IMI representative in Volyn oblast.
According to her, she and her colleague wanted to ask the parishioners why they chose this particular church for themselves. The journalists also wanted to know how people feel about the events taking place around the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (ROC-affiliated) and whether they were considering joining the OCU.
Journalists came to the church during a mass.
"When we came to the church, the people immediately became wary of us. I would even say unfriendly. Except for the woman who greeted us and asked us why we had come. Although I am sure that the other people who had entered the church were not asked this. We went into the church despite their attempts to stop us. But these were only verbal attempts to hinder us. They said that we were being impolite," Lyudmila Rospopa said.
Two women sitting at the entrance to the church said that journalists would not be allowed in. According to them, the reporters needed permission from the abbot to film in the church.
"We did not interfere with the mass, we did not interfere with the people's prayers. We respect people's right to pray, and while the service was ongoing we filmed footage for the video. And after the mass ended, we came back for the interviews. We entered the church despite what these women were saying. I don't understand what their role wass in that church, and I don't know if they were authorized to send us somewhere to get a permission or demand something from us. One of them was quite insistently trying to convince me to put on a headscarf," the journalist said.
"We spoke with the abbot several times. And several times, he said that he was against being filmed, that he did not want to talk to journalists. Which is why that conversation didn't work out," she added.
Konkurent journalist Lyudmila Rospopa said that nothing warranted calling the police, as there was no physical obstruction. Journalists had to film the intevrviews with people and several shots from the mass. Some people refused to answer the question, but, she added, silence is also an answer in that case.
IMI lawyer Roman Holovenko noted that formally, the journalists should have gotten a permission, since the church is separate from the state and is a private organization.
"The church is separate from the state, it is a private organization and private property / territory from the legal point of view. Therefore, yes, to film in the church, a permission from the person who performs the functions of the owner (tenant, user) is required. I don't know if the old ladies sitting at the entrance were such authorized persons, but formally, the journalists should have searched for such a person themselves before starting filming," the lawyer said.
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