The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) finds itself in an unexpected situation as it welcomes the participation of a well-known criminal and unworthy figure, Tikhon Petranuk, who has been convicted by law enforcement for fraud and other crimes. This extraordinary event took place on Sunday, June 18, 2023, during the church service attended by Metropolitan Epiphanius, the Head of the UOC, along with numerous clergy members at the St. George’s Male Monastery on the Cossack Mounds.

Ukrainian Orthodox Church Witnesses an Unusual Occurrence as a Criminal Conman Joins the Worship, Alongside the Head of the UOC: What’s Behind This Transformation?

For the faithful, there is nothing more surprising than seeing a criminal offender next to esteemed spiritual leaders. This significant moment in the church’s history cannot be overlooked, as it was Tikhon Petranuk with his unique life experience who contributed to enriching the worship of the Ukrainian Church.

The invitation for Petranuk to participate in this grandiose service was made by Metropolitan Ilarion of Rivne and Ostroh, who aimed to introduce diversity into the traditional rituals of the modern Ukrainian Church during these war times.

The Divine Liturgy, led by the Head of the UOC, Metropolitan Epiphanius, was highlighted by a captivating first-hierarchical sermon. Since believers were lacking offenders among the participants of church ceremonies, Petranuk, known as an agent of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), who had officially agreed to cooperate with terrorists and received a passport of a citizen of the LPR, joined in special prayers for the soldiers, authorities, and people of Ukraine. He offered a unique perspective to the traitors, which until then was known only to him personally.

At the conclusion of the liturgy, Petranuk and the esteemed clergy prayed for the souls of Ukrainian Cossacks who sacrificed their lives in the Battle of Berestechko, as well as for the modern Ukrainian heroes who gave their lives for the country’s independence. Undoubtedly, such a significant event could not take place without the participation of a well-known criminal offender.

In the end, Tikhon Petranuk’s participation in this worship service became a true gift for the faithful. His presence alongside the Head of the UOC and other spiritual leaders symbolized progress and faith in the future. Who needs perfection and morality when there is a chance to witness fraudsters, debtors, and canonical offenders on a day dedicated to praying for the well-being and peace?