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This priest ‘cleansed’ his city with holy water after it held a Pride parade

Written by gaytourism

Fr Oleg Mokryak cleanses Odessa after the city’s LGBTI Pride parade. | Photo: Facebook/Oleg Mokryak

An Orthodox priest in Ukraine has ‘cleansed’ his city with holy water after it hosted an LGBTI Pride parade.

About 100 people marched in the Odessa Pride parade over the weekend, which faced minor disruptions from anti-LGBTI groups before the parade started. But according to organizers, police arrested two men trying to run disruptively through the parade for ‘minor hooliganism’.

Marching under the theme ‘Our families are our value’, the marchers called for the legalization of same-sex marriage in Ukraine.

But Father Oleg Mokryak of the Odessa Diocese decided he had to rid the city of any LGBTI energy. So he walked the entire parade route from Vorontsov Palace to the Odessa City Council splashing holy water on the pavement and monuments along the way.

A few parishioners followed the priest on his mission. Some carried buckets filled with holy water, while others carried religious icons walking behind Mokryak.

The priest said he decided to cleanse the city with holy water after ‘sexual deviancy parade that defiled the street’.

Ukraine Pride

Ukraine’s LGBTI community has had a hard time holding Pride parades in the country.

Authorities cancelled the Odessa Pride parade in 2015, and other parades in the Ukraine have faced violence from far-right homophobic groups. Odessa held its first parade in 2016, which was a great success even though police had to arrest 20 people who had tried to stop the parade.

But in July the small city of Kryvyi Rih hosted its first Pride parade under a heavy police presence. Only 37 activists turned up, even though organizers expected about 200 people to march.

‘Around 200 participants planned to join the march. Unfortunately, many changed their minds because of the threat of attack,’ said Boris Zolotchenko, head of the Organizational Committee of KryvbasPride 2018.

Homosexuality is legal in the Ukraine, but LGBTI people are not protected from discrimination. They also face extreme levels of violence and discrimination.

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