Prosp. Chervonoyi Kalyny, 089 – St. Volodymyr Church
The church was built between 1991-1993 through the efforts of the Orthodox community led by two priests, Fr. Volodymyr Tsiopka and Fr. Volodymyr Kuzio, former parish priests of St. Michael Church in Sykhiv. Following a split in the community, the church remained with Fr. Kuzio and his parishioners, and now (2008) belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kiev Patriarchate.
Fr. Volodymyr Tsiopka, the parish administrator of St. Volodymyr Church (Orthodox church of Kyiv Patriarchate in Sykhiv) came to Sykhiv in 1986 from Sokal, a town in the L’viv oblast. He was parish priest of St. Michael Church (in Sykhiv) until 1990, when the parish community split, and the majority decided to turn to Greek Catholicism. Fr. Tsiopka, who wanted to join the newly formed Orthodox Autocephalous Church was forced to leave the church, and a few months later the parish house as well. He and the other Orthodox priest Fr. Volodymyr Kuzio relocated with their small group to an empty area in Chervonoyi Kalyny Square of Sykhiv. An improvised chapel made of wood and plastic folia became the space for religious services every Saturday and Sunday morning. Meanwhile the priests were granted authorization by the local council to build a permanent church on the premises (22.02.1991).
In 1991 the two priests started to build a small church next to the chapel. They raised the church in two years with the help of devoted parish members, owing to donations from the factories in Sykhiv. People were receptive to the idea of building a church in the center of the Soviet-style residential district and they donated construction, materials, and labor. When church construction was nearly complete, a second split occurred in the community. After the emergence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kiev Patriarchate in mid-1992, the Church was for a short time the strongest in western Ukraine, only to soon split again into two churches (in early 1993). It was at this moment that the two priests decided to separate. The older priest, Fr. Tsiopka followed the general trend, switching to the Orthodox Church of Kiev Patriarchate. The younger priest, Fr. Kuzio insisted on following the official line of the Russian Orthodox Church thus creating a split in the parish. There were several attempts by the two groups to seize the church they had built together, but in the end the bigger group led by Fr. Tsiopka remained, forcing Kuzio and his followers out. The small group led by Fr. Kuzio moved back to the improvised chapel where it still celebrates today (2008).
Fr. Tsiopka has plans to build a big church on the site but the land has been heavily disputed by the two priests.
Parish priests:Fr. Volodymyr Tsiopka, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kiev Patriarchate
Fr. Volodymyr Kuzio (until 1993)
- Interviews conducted by Vlad Naumescu and Natalia Vashrova, 2004.