Another Videomanipulation About the Orthodox Church of Ukraine

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On March 21, several Facebook accounts (1, 2, 3) published a video that they claim was filmed in the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine. The video depicts people dressed in ancient military uniforms, as well as a boy in the costume of an angel with wings. The people in the video sing the Ukrainian patriotic song “Ой, у лузи червона калина.” Facebook users write that this is what the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine freed from “Russian Orthodoxy” looks like and is now “named after Zelenskyy.”

Orthodox Church of Ukraine

The video, which seems to have been shot in the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, is being circulated in a manipulative manner. In fact, there is nothing unusual about the video, it was taken during the traditional Christmas performance “Vertep” in the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (УГКЦ).

Vertep” is a traditional Ukrainian theatrical performance and it has been held since the 16th century. Initially, it had the form of a puppet theater. From 10 to 40 heroes participate in “Vertep”, among them are cashiers, angels, peasants, kings, animals, soldiers… The heroes stage Christmas miniature scenes. From time, the significance and rules of “Vertep” have changed. It became associated with Christmas in Ukraine and took the form of a live performance in which people participate and is staged in theaters. Traditionally, “Vertep” tells about the birth of Christ and the angry king Herod.

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Source: World Encyclopedia o Puppetry Art / Source: RFE/RL

As a result of observing the details of the church and searching them in open sources, it was determined that the circulated video was shot in the Church of the Nativity of Christ in the village of Rozhniativ, Ivano-Frankivsk District, Ukraine, which is not under the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, but under the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (УГКЦ).

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Source: Рожнятівська селищна рада

A similar video depicting “Vertep” was shared by the parishioners of the church in the Facebook group. “Vertep”, which is shown in the video, was organized for Christmas in 2023. The description of the group also indicates that it belongs to the parish of the Church of the Nativity of Christ in Rozhniativ and is subordinate to the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church.

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The interior of the Church of the Nativity of Christ in Rozhniativ is also Catholic and differs from the arrangement of the Orthodox church, it has balconies and long benches.

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Source: Парафія “Різдва Господа Нашого Ісуса Христа” смт. Рожнятів 

In the past years, “Vertep” was also held in different Greek-Catholic churches of Ukraine.

In order to discredit the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine, false claims related to  various performances have been spread many times in the past. “Myth Detector” systematically verifies information of similar content:

About the Source:

Daat Tsabadze is a pro-Russian troll who has been active on social media since 2019. It participated in the discrediting campaign of the anti-occupation protest. In February 2021, after the arrest of Nika Melia, he criticized American democracy. False information disseminated by the user has been verified by “Myth Detector” in the past as well. 

Facebook user Khunda Dze is a supporter of the pro-Kremlin “Conservative Movement.” The user constantly shares the news of “Alt-Info” on social media, and also often publishes posts with anti-Western content.

The Facebook account “Uts Nobi”, aka “Fantina”, systematically spreads false information with four different profiles (1, 2, 3, 4).


The article has been written in the framework of Facebook’s fact-checking program. You can read more about the restrictions that Facebook may impose based on this article via this link. You can find information about appealing or editing our assessment via this link.

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Topic: Religion
Country: Ukraine
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