10 mar 2023 8:57 p.m
Ukrainian President Zelensky continues to systematically implement his threat to destroy the traditional Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Having been banned from using the most important places of worship in the Kiev Pechersk Lavra since the beginning of January, the canonical church now has to leave it completely by March 29.
The “Kiev Cave Monastery” national reserve, which is subordinate to the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and Information Policy, has obliged the monks of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) to vacate and leave the monastery buildings by March 29, according to the national reserve’s website. In the text it says:
“The reserve has notified the termination of the lease effective March 29, 2023. In order to carry out the process of acceptance and transfer of state ownership, the monastery has all buildings and structures that are state property and accounted for on the national reserve, to vacate and leave by March 29, 2023.”
The acting director general of the national reserve, Alexandr Rudnyk, referred to the “conclusions of the interministerial working group” and a letter from the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine to justify the blatant expulsion of the Orthodox clergy. The working group concerned found that the monastery had violated the Agreement on the Use of State Property without specifying what these violations consisted of or even providing any evidence.
In 2022, the Ukrainian authorities carried out the largest wave of persecution against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the country’s modern history. Citing its alleged links with Russia, local authorities in various areas of the country banned the activities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and a bill effectively banning it was introduced in the Rada. Sanctions were imposed on some members of the clergy. The Ukrainian security service began to institute criminal proceedings against the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and to carry out “counterintelligence measures”: searches of bishops and priests, churches and monasteries, including the Cave Monastery itself, were carried out. The “evidence” found in the process of “anti-Ukrainian Activities” could not be surpassed in terms of ridiculousness: spiritual literature, pictures of the last Russian tsar family, revered as martyrs in the Orthodox Church, tourist illustrated books about churches and monasteries in Russia.
The Kiev-Pechersk Lavra (Russian and Ukrainian: Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra) is a monastery founded in the 11th century, one of the most important centers of Russian Orthodoxy and Enlightenment. The remains of venerated saints and famous historical figures are buried on the monastery grounds. The monastery was closed during the Soviet period, but was opened for worship as late as the late Soviet period.
Since 1988 it has been effectively owned by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the largest denomination in the country. However, the Ukrainian state has always refused to return ownership of the complex to the Orthodox Church, the previous owner expropriated by the Soviets, so that the use of the complex by the church and monks has always been regulated as a lease. Also in 1988 the work of the monastery and the seminary was resumed: the authorities gave the church the above-ground structures and the remote caves, and in 1990 also the nearby caves. In 1990, UNESCO added the monastery to the World Heritage List. The monastery complex has since been reconstructed, rebuilt and maintained primarily with funds from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its faithful. The largest church in the complex, which was destroyed in World War II, was also rebuilt in this way with ecclesiastical funds. Since 1994 and to this day Metropolitan Pavel (Lebed) is the Vicar of the Cave Monastery.
Since the victory of the nationalist Maidan in February 2014, the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been under massive pressure because of its traditional, if more recently symbolic, affiliation with the Moscow Patriarchate (the UOC has enjoyed extensive self-government since 1990). Since then, two secessions have been openly favored by the new rulers and given state funds, for example within the framework of the introduction of military chaplains. Unhindered, in some cases even with state support, supporters of the secessionists took action using violence ownership of churches and displacing the traditional congregations.
In late 2018, under the auspices of then-President Poroshenko, the splits became the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” united in 2019 by the Patriarch of Constantinople recognized as “independent”. became. In the world Orthodox Church, this act is controversial and is sometimes condemned as a non-canonical encroachment on the sovereignty of the Moscow Patriarch. So far, only four of the 14 or 15 Orthodox World Churches, depending on the interpretation, have recognized the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”. Even among Ukrainian believers, the new foundation has so far only limited success.
Since 2018 there have been repeated efforts and political initiatives to transfer the monasteries of Ukraine to the newly founded national church. After the start of the Russian military intervention in February 2022, Zelensky, who visibly stayed out of the sectarian conflict for the first two years of his term in office, openly declared that he wanted to destroy the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
more on the subject – Selensky carries out threats: Ukrainian Orthodox Church loses parts of the cave monastery
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