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Kiev Priest of Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate dies in hospital after assassination attempt

Kiev priest Roman Nikolayev. Photo: rtr-vesti.ru

Kiev priest Roman Nikolayev (Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate - UOCMP) died at the Kiev hospital after being attacked on Tuesday, the UOCMP press office said.

“He died of gunshot wounds today at the age of 41 after falling into a coma,” the source reports.

EADaily reported earlier that two unknown attacked Father Roman near the entrance of his residential building on the Heroes of Stalingrad Avenue in Kiev on July 25 in the evening and fired two shots to his head. Later, the Interior Ministry of Ukraine confirmed the information. The Kiev Police believes it could be a burglary.

The UOCMP has called the authorities to carry out an impartial and thorough investigation into the assassination attempt on Father Roman. “We hope the police will investigate the case impartially and find those guilty in the crime that shocked the people,” said Bishop Kliment of Irpensk, the head of the UOCMP press center.

The coup d’etat in February 2014 prompted a new wave of hatred towards UOCMP and more frequent attacks on Orthodox churches. For instance, on February 11 2015, the unknown committed an act of vandalism in the area of Ukraine Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in Demidovka village.

On April 28, the militants of the Right Sector – the Ukrainian nationalist organization banned in Russia - wearing balaclava helmets arrived in a small village in Ternopol region to join the supporters of the Kiev Patriarchate that wanted to seize the local church. The church members did not let them enter the church. Father Stefan said then that most of the villagers are members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the orthodox community has all the documents for the church.

In August 2014, radicals from Oleh Lyashko’s Party desecrated one of the Moscow Patriarchate’s churches near Kiev and insulted over the local priest, Father Vladimir, threatening his life. Earlier in May, the priest was attacked.  He received three gunshot wounds then: the attackers escaped. Since the conflict in the east of Ukraine, 60 similar incidents have been registered. Priest Georgy Nikishov died of gunshot wounds. Archpriest Pavel Zhuchenko was shot dead. Many churches in Donbass were burnt or destroyed by the artillery attacks in the source of the military operation in Kiev. It is noteworthy that Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Onufriy, appealed to President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, who is a member of the UOCMP, for protection to the priesthood.

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