The UOC refused to leave the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, contrary to the demands of the authorities. The church filed a complaint. Believers do not allow employees of the Ministry of Culture into the monastery

Believers praying in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, March 29, 2023

On the afternoon of March 30, parishioners did not allow the commission of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine to enter the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, which was supposed to conduct an inventory of property. Authorities sent armed police to the scene, but they took no strong action.

The territory and buildings of the monastery belong to the state (the national reserve “Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra”), and the UOC rents them indefinitely and free of charge. In early March, the authorities announced that they were terminating the lease agreement, accusing the monastery of violating the terms of use of the property, and demanded that the UOC leave the territory by the end of the day on March 29.

Representatives of the UOC said they had no intention of complying with the orders of the authorities and filed a complaint with the court, the procedure for which was begin March 29 – the day of the required expulsion from the monastery. In the lawsuit, the UOC insisted that the termination of the contract was illegal and also demanded that the authorities prohibit any action on the territory of the monastery that “inconveniences the religious community”. Viceroy of Lavra, Metropolitan Pavel (Lebed) writing a video message in which he accused the culture minister of “diabolical rage”, and also said that “God will not forgive” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his family for the deportation decision.

Early morning on March 30 at the monastery began service attended by several hundred parishioners. Once completed, Metropolitan Pavel, Abbot de la Lavra, urged believers not to allow the government commission to begin work. “They have no permission, they have no right to do this. Why? Because martial law, they shouldn’t break any treaties. And when the war ends, only 4 months later, they can communicate with us “, he said. At the same time, he asked believers “do not break” the law, because “journalists film everything”. With media representatives among parishioners and priests arrived skirmishes.

When the commission arrived, the believers surrounded its members and did not let them enter the buildings they wanted to inspect. One of the churches where the inspectors were to go, proved farm. After some time, the commission left without starting work. Police were present at the scene – at least three of them were armed with machine guns – but they did not interfere in the conflict in any way. Commission representative declaredso far they have no reason to contact the police. “But if they don’t let us in everywhere, we will draw up appropriate deeds, on the basis of which the head of the commission can turn to law enforcement,” he said. The commission is expected will come back The next day.

In the context of the confrontation in the Lavra, the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov, said that the authorities had no intention of forcibly expelling the UOC of the territory of the monastery. He said that “the Russian FSB today wants to organize provocations there”, and stressed that the authorities would not allow it. “We won’t carry them by the legs, we won’t use any force. They will slowly go away on their own,” said He. Danilov also reacted calmly to the UOC trial, saying “we have a democratic country”.

UOC to accuse in Ukraine in a “pro-Russian atmosphere”. Searches were carried out in parishes in different regions of the country; in total, more than 350 religious buildings and 850 people were thoroughly inspected by the SBU. During the year, more than 60 criminal proceedings were initiated, including seven rendered guilty verdicts. In December, the National Security and Defense Council Free The Verkhovna Rada to legally ban the activities of the UOC in Ukraine. The church itself denies the allegations of ties to Russia.

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