Дмитро Присяжний Dmytro Prysiazhnyi

* 1975

  • “The first departure was immediately from Maidan to a town in Chernihiv region called Honcharivske. Soldiers informally call this town “Honduras”. You know, military style. Tankers were stationed there during the Soviet era. Well, they were just stationed there. There was also another military town, which was not destroyed by airstrikes but by human incompetence, audacity, and greed. When military towns were disbanded, the property was either sold or looted. The buildings themselves were dismantled piece by piece. Why? Because that direction was dangerous in terms of a potential Russian invasion. While the tankers were stationed in well-equipped barracks, a missile-artillery division was relocated from Sumy region to Honcharivske. The young soldiers, boys, lived in tents under unsuitable conditions. The building exists, but it... is empty there, no windows, no doors. Everything is destroyed. Tents. The boys had no hygiene supplies, no enough food, no raincoats. Many things were lacking. And we, together with the Euromaidan activists who gathered in such a friendly group, in a column... “Who among the priests agrees?” I said: “I do”. “Let's go”. Well-known actresses were with us. In particular, Rayisa Stepanivna Nedashkivska, People's Artist of Ukraine, a living legend of theater and cinema, Ruslana Losman, Lesia Horova, and Taras Kompaniichenko, already a People's Artist of Ukraine. They set off with a concert to show support. I went with a prayer. While they were preparing, I held a prayer service, blessed the boys. I saw, and I was deeply impressed. Their uniforms were worn out, dirty, and their footwear was in a pitiful state. Some didn't even have soles, some didn't have any footwear at all. They were wearing slippers”.

  • “It's like one chain - the Orange Revolution, the Revolution of Dignity. You are a participant in both the first and the second. And as for the Orange Revolution... Of course, there was a sense of incredible unity due to the national uplift. Because there was falsification, there was. I, for example, will never forget. Right now, the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra is very relevant, the adherents of the “Russian world”. It wasn't just yesterday, and it wasn't just in 2014 when the annexation of Crimea and the turbulent events in Donbas began. I remember how in the churches of the Moscow Patriarchate, the local priests, if I may say so, on the Gospel and the cross, demanded oaths from their parishioners that they would only vote for Yanukovych. Excuse me, what kind of violation of human choice is this? God created humans free and gave them the opportunity to choose, and here they were deprived of that choice. It is unacceptable. I recall their campaign materials that were distributed in almost all parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate. Here's a high-quality paper, an icon of the Archistrategos Michael. I unfold it. “Prayer of faithful spiritual children of the Ukrainian canonical Orthodox Church for the servant of God Viktor Yanukovych”. I won't quote the entire prayer, only a few short excerpts. “Prohibit all his enemies, those who fight against him, make them like sheep and scatter them like dust in the wind”. How can such things be propagated?! What about love for one's neighbor? I saw the hypocrisy then. Thank God I'm not in the Moscow Patriarchate. And that cancerous tumor, which had been in the Ukrainian body for a long time, has already metastasized. These are just the consequences of them not being punished back then for such actions that contradict not only God's law but also civil law. Unpunished evil returns. And it's no wonder that their followers became enablers of the fire of Russian artillery, handed over our activists and ATO veterans. Some even dressed in military uniforms with St. George ribbons and committed misconduct with firearms. Some even tortured our prisoners of war. This is not yesterday. Unpunished evil returns a hundredfold. Thank God they are now being held accountable. But unfortunately, with significant delay. Well, better late than never. Although ideally, the process of Ukrainianization, decommunization, lustration, and the formation of a local church should have started back in 1991, at the dawn of Ukrainian independence”.

  • “Because the cause was worth it, for the Ukrainian church in Boiarka to be revived. Moreover, in the 1920s and 1930s, the St. Michael's Church where I was baptized was a parish of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Then the Soviet era came, and some were murdered, shot, sent to concentration camps, and there was a process of Russification. Boiarka was actively settled by former KGB officers, fervent Ukrainophobes. And here comes the Ukrainian church, where the service is conducted in the Ukrainian language, where in addition to God's law, the history of the Ukrainian Church and the history of Ukraine are taught. And then, when with God's help we moved to our own church, we organized a historical club where we invited professional historians, such as the late Volodymyr Bronislavovych Bilinskyi, the author of the three-volume work “The Country of Moksel [or] Moskovia”, and Serhii Kovalenko. It is worth mentioning Yurii Shcherbak as well. He is a legendary figure in both our politics and diplomacy. We started filming with a camera, then transferred it to a disc and distributed it. And then we shared it on YouTube so that a larger audience could become acquainted with their research and their books. It was very interesting. And that is just one episode. When we were present, for example, at historical debates in our seminary, and later at the Historical Club at our Holy Protection Church”.

  • “I started to ask questions, in particular about Stepan Bandera. My father, as a product of the Soviet school system, told me that he was a criminal who was killed by his own people after the war because they didn't share the money. Later, I became interested in what actually happened after the war. Well, I'm sorry, but Bandera died in [19]59. World War II ended in 1945. Something doesn't add up. And you know, by a strange coincidence, I once visited his hometown, the village of Staryi Uhryniv near Kalush. It's in modern-day Ivano-Frankivsk region. You won't believe it, but I had two services in the church where his father served as a priest for a long time. It's a Greek Catholic parish, but when we came from Boiarka, where I serve as a priest, a suburb of Kyiv, to Staryi Uhryniv, they kindly agreed to let us celebrate the liturgy, administer the sacrament to our believers, and perform a memorial service for Father Andrii, who, as it turns out, was a military chaplain in the Ukrainian Galician Army, a warrior Andrii, a spiritual warrior, a priest, and a warrior Stepan, his son, as well as the brothers who were murdered by the Nazis. Another brother, who perished in the ranks of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). The museum... Then I was in Stryi, in Lviv region, where Stepan Andriiovych Bandera studied at the gymnasium. And believe it or not, over time, the paths led to Munich, to the Waldfriedhof cemetery, where Stepan Bandera is buried, and where his comrade Yaroslav Stetsko also found his rest. He was the one who, on June 30, [19]41, read the Act of the Restoration of Ukrainian Statehood in Lviv. And the eldest daughter of Stepan Andriiovych, Natalka Bandera-Kutsan, also found her rest there. Kutsan is her married name. I was in Munich at that time. And it so happened that I was there on the very day when the anniversary and commemoration were taking place. I was in the Cathedral of the Holy Protection and St. Andrew Protokletos. And on that day, Stepan Bandera's son-in-law, Andrii Kutsan, his children, grandchildren... I mean, the grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren of Stepan Bandera visited the cathedral. I approached them, saying that I am a priest from Ukraine, as I was also participating in the memorial events. They were deeply impressed. They invited me, Andrii and his wife at the time, Ivanka, a Ukrainian woman originally from Poland, for an evening coffee and conversation in Munich. And you won't believe it, two years later, they visited us in Boiarka for the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. They received communion”.

  • “Grandma used to tell me during the Soviet era, very cautiously, about the Holodomor. My grandma experienced three of them: in the early 1920s, in 1932-33, and in 1946. I observed how my grandma would leave a lot of bread crumbs and dry them. I asked: “Grandma, why do you do this?” She replied: “Oh, my child, you haven't experienced hunger, but I know what hunger is. We need to have some bread, even if it's dry, as a reserve”. I was puzzled why she would stockpile so much firewood. Even when gas was very affordable, she would say: “My dears, if you ever need to renovate something in the house, never touch the stove. You will still need it". Many people mocked it, like our neighbors, acquaintances, and relatives, saying: “Are you kidding? Firewood is a thing of the past”. But as you can see from the events of recent history, we needed that firewood when there were widespread power outages or when critical infrastructure was damaged, just so the system could function”.

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    Kyiv, 01.04.2023

    duration: 02:28:32
    media recorded in project Voices of Ukraine
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I am a warrior of Christ and a warrior in the Ukrainian army

near 1991
near 1991
photo: witness archive

Dmytro Anatoliyovych Prysiazhnyi (Father Dmytrii) is the rector of the Holy Protection Parish in the city of Boiarka, who was involved in the development of the Ukrainian Church and immediately started serving as a chaplain after the Revolution of Dignity. He was born on December 10, 1975, in the village of Tarasivka, Kyiv region. From an early age, he perfected his Ukrainian language skills by conversing with fellow villagers who spoke the literary language, and he read extensively. He developed a passion for Ukrainian history while in school, and in the late 1980s, he sought meetings with Ukrainian dissidents to learn about their views on the historical past of their homeland. In 1994, after completing a vocational school, Dmytro visited the St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery for a church service out of curiosity. He was so impressed by what he witnessed that same year he entered the Kyiv Theological Seminary, and in 1997, he was ordained as a priest and appointed to the city of Boiarka, Kyiv region. During the revolutions of 2004 and 2013, Dmytro Prysiazhnyi stood alongside his parishioners on Maidan Square, and in the spring of 2014, he began volunteering and serving as a chaplain. After receiving a higher theological education at the Avhustyn Voloshyn Carpathian University and the Cyril and Methodius Ukrainian Theological Academy in Uzhhorod, he assumed the position of the Chief Military Chaplain of the Ivan Cherniakhovskyi National Defense University of Ukraine. In 2020, he was appointed the Chief Chaplain of the Joint Forces Operation. Since the winter of 2023, Dmytro Prysiazhnyi has been serving as a chaplain within the ranks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.