On November 19, the feast day of Holy Martyrs Galacteon and Episteme, in the village of Malaya Moshchanitsa in the Rovno eparchy of the UOC, the church was consecrated in honor of St. Michael the Archangel after a five-year construction, reports a UOJ correspondent.
The liturgy and consecration of the throne was headed by the vicar of the Dnepropetrovsk eparchy, Archbishop Eulogy of Novomoskovsk – a native of the village, a spiritual inspirer and chief patron of the construction. In his welcoming speech to the faithful, Vladyka said that it is the residents of Western Ukraine who are the true faithful and persistent children of the Orthodox Church, now the whole fullness of Orthodoxy looks up to them.
The Liturgy was accompanied by the singing of the choir of the sisters of the Holy Ascension Church of Mlinovka.
In 2012, the villagers started building a new church. The 27 –year-old rector of the church, Protopriest Sergius Timoshchuk, is from the neighboring village of Zalibovka. "This is my second parish," he says. "My present parishioners persuaded me to come to the village to serve. They often visited me and talked about the difficult situation in the village. After consulting with my confessor and my wife, my family moved from a new permanent home to an old grandfather's house and started a new milestone in our life, physically and morally hard, but I hope, saving for our souls."
Archbishop Eulogy tried to establish a dialogue with local activists of the Kyiv Patriarchate and wanted to persuade them to return the temple, but the supporters of the UOC-KP, calling him names, drove the archbishop out of the church. According to Vladyka, a deep indignation at this injustice, which he felt in his heart, forced the foundation of a new church to be laid.
"The hardest thing was to believe that everything would turn out. I know every person in this village, I know their state of mind, that's why I, like doubting Thomas, doubted that the new church would rise," Father Sergius says. "But what's impossible for man is possible for God." So, I had to knock on different offices, asking for funds, sometimes ending up with nothing, but there were times when the benefactors found me themselves."
The church in the village of Malaya Moshchanitsa was seized by the Kyiv Patriarchate in 1996 with the assistance of the chairman of the village council and the former head of the collective farm, who later radically changed his religious preferences and moved to Jehovah's Witnesses.
According to the rector, the believers of the UOC had to pray all the years through in an old house of a local resident adjusted for religious needs. Eventually, the house completely got destructed: the beams rotted through and the foundation sank.
The village of Malaya Moshchanitsa is the most remote settlement of the Zdolbunov district. It is located within a two-hour walk from the district center.