By March 29, the Ukrainian authorities plan to “remove” the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra from the monastery of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), the spokeswoman for the Russian Ministry of Affairs said foreigners, Maria Zakharova. The rector informed about the request to leave the monastery, warning that the monks were not going to leave. RTVI has gathered everything that is known about the situation around the Lavra.
In November 2022, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) conducted raids in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra and other UOC-MP facilities, calling them “counterintelligence measures” as part of a “systematic work to counter the subversive activities of Russian special forces”. services in Ukraine. As a result of the research, it was announced that “pro-Russian literature” for teaching in seminaries and parochial schools, including “Russian world propaganda”, and money – more than 2 million hryvnias and more than 100,000 dollars – had been found.
The Kremlin, commenting on the actions of the Ukrainian special services, noted that Kiev “has been at war with the Russian Orthodox Church for a long time” and that the searches in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra are another link in the chain of steps against Russia. Orthodoxy.
In December, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that the country’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) had instructed the government to submit to the Verkhovna Rada a draft law “on the impossibility of activities” of organizations nuns “affiliated with centers of influence in the Russian Federation.”
“We will ensure the full independence of our state. In particular, we will ensure spiritual independence. We will never allow anyone to build an empire inside the Ukrainian soul,” Zelenskyyy said.
After that, in Ukraine, on behalf of its chairman, a special working group was created to check the objects of the UOC-MP and search for violations in their activities, and soon Zelenskyyy suspended the citizenship of 13 priests of the ‘church.
The rector of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan Pavel, appealed to Zelenskyyy with a request not to remove at least two churches from the monastery – the Assumption Cathedral and the Refectory Church, the lease of which has expired on December 31.
On March 10, 2023, a document sent by the administration of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra Museum-Reserve and printed on the letterhead of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine was published on the monastery’s website. He said that the monks must leave the monastery by March 29, because the work commission revealed violations in the activities of the monastery, and the lease contract with it would be terminated.
The head of the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture, Oleksandr Tkachenko, announced that after the departure of the monks, a commission from the department would come to the Lavra and, by May 15, would review the “museum exhibits”, including the relics of the saints are stored there. According to him, we are talking about 829 cultural values that the Kiev-Pechersk National Historical and Cultural Reserve transferred to the Lavra for free use with buildings and structures.
Metropolitan Pavel recorded a video message in which he said they “do not intend to be deported and will not be”.
“We are not against all legal actions, but there should not be any illegal ones. We are <...> citizens of our country, we are people who have lived here (at Lavra Monastery) since 1988, many of us have no other place but this,” the rector said in a statement.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova during a briefing on March 16 doubt expressed the fact that the official representative of the UN Secretary General, Stefan Dujarric, really has no information about the situation with the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, as he himself assures. According to her, the silence of the UN in this matter is “absolutely unacceptable”.
“I have information that some of the monks are already leaving the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, and allegedly students who studied at the theological seminary and theological academy have also already been taken out of the territory of the Lavra,” he said. said a religious scholar, professor of the Institute, said in an interview with the Ukrainian radio station NV Philosophy named GS Skovoroda NAS from Ukraine Lyudmila Filippovich.
Meanwhile, on the Ukrainian government website on March 16 appeared petition against the expulsion from the UOC-MP monastery of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. “We appeal to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine with a request to facilitate the review of the decision to terminate the contract with the monastery,” the letter said.