On 14 January 2023, a Facebook user published a piece of footage in social networks showing a church in flames. The publication also includes the comment of the author of the post according to whom the Orthodox church was burned down because the abbot who recognises the authority of Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) refused to obey the schismatic and non-canonical patriarchate.

There are two Orthodox churches in Ukraine: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The latter gained autocephaly in 2019. On 27 June 2022, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) declared “full independence.” Disinformation against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church intensified, particularly after the Security Service of Ukraine carried out searches in Ukrainian Orthodox churches (Moscow Patriarchate).

As a result of the verification of the church in the piece of footage published by the aforementioned Facebook user, Google reverse image search shows that the footage is the St Theodosius of Chernihiv church (under the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s Moscow Patriarchate) which is situated in the village of Novoaleksandrivka in the Dnipropetrovsk oblast. The church caught fire on 19 January 2021 and its central dome was damaged and the interior and the roof were destroyed.

On 19 January 2021, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine responded to the incident on its Facebook page. It was noted that fire was extinguished and no one was injured. On 27 January 2021, one of the priests of the church, Dmitriy Fednov, made a publication on his Facebook page and stated that the fire occurred as result of the electrical network working in extraordinary mode according to the conclusion of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine. As stated by Dmitriy Fednov, any other versions, including one alleging that source of fire was outside the church, were ruled out.

Therefore, the claim that the fire occurred because an abbot of the church subordinate to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) refused to join the schismatic and non-canonical patriarchate is FAKE NEWS. Electrical grid problems in the church was determined to be the real reason why the fire occurred.


This article was produced as part of Facebook’s Fact-checking Programme. Given the rating, Facebook may impose different restrictions – click here for full information. For information on issuing a correction or to dispute a rating, please see here.