Pochaev, Ukraine, November 20, 2018
Ukrainian media publishes distorted information about the Pochaev Lavra nearly every day in order to “create psychological pressure” on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and the monastery brotherhood has published a message in response.
In a statement published on the Lavra’s website, the brotherhood appealed to all who intentionally sow enmity and inter-confessional confrontation between people to cease fighting against Truth and to remember the Judgment of God.
In its message, the brothers noted that the battles around the Lavra are unfolding with “kaleidoscopic speed,” and that manipulative publications aimed at discrediting the Lavra appear in the media daily. Particular attention is called to the news about “the defense of the Pochaev Lavra from the encroachments of the Russian Church” and the criminal case on the legality of the transfer of the building of the Pochaev Lavra to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Ukrainian schismatic-nationalists refuse to admit that the Ukrainian Church is administered and served by Ukrainians.
The Pochaev Lavra museum attempted to register the religious buildings as the property of the museum, but this failed on the grounds that the structures had already been moved out of the museum’s possession in July, 2003, the monastery’s message explains.
However, having been refused registration, the Ministry of Culture then appealed to the Prosecutor’s office to check the transfer of the buildings to the Lavra for free use. The Prosecutor’s office then opened two criminal cases: one against the original registrar from 2003, and another against the registrar who recently refused to re-register the monastery’s buildings to the museum.
The buildings in question include the Holy Dormition Cathedral, the Holy Trinity Cathedral, the bell tower, the bishop/abbot’s house, the holy gates, and the brothers’ cells. The cases are also meant to justify an information attack against the Lavra.
Ukrainian political analysts have argued that the criminal cases are meant as pressure and persecution against the canonical Church that is refusing to join with Ukrainian schismatics in a new church.
“So-called ‘activists’ gather in Ternopil to ‘develop measures to prevent the transfer of the buildings of the Pochaev Lavra to the Moscow Patriarchate.’ It sounds like nonsense, but it takes place and nobody wants to know that these buildings belong to the state and nobody but the state owns them or disposes of them,” the Lavra writes.
“The actions of the authorities show that everything is connected with the order of certain political forces and the attempt to create a single local Church, and in fact, the canonical Orthodox Church and the apostolic faith in Ukraine is being destroyed,” the monks write.
Further: “We appeal to those who ordered this and to those who fulfill the orders to stop fighting with Truth and to remember the Judgment of God, and we ask the people not to react to any provocations and to pray for peace in Ukraine.”
Against the background of the criminal cases, a fake video has appeared in which a monk of the Lavra supposedly offers a bribe to a local Deputy to vote in favor of the Lavra. However, Archpriest Gennady Shkil, who knows the monk in question, and many others have demonstrated that the video is a fake.
“It is clear that all the Deputies who will vote for the allocation of land [to the Lavra] will be accused by the enemies of the Church of bribery,” Fr. Gennady writes.
The Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras have long been targets of the Ukrainian nationalist-schismatics. In 2015, deputies of the Ternopil regional council chose Holy Thursday as a suitable time to vote to transfer the Pochaev Lavra back to the state and to turn the cells and cathedrals into a museum. The various radical groups also continuously harass and intimidate the deputies of the Pochaev city council to prevent it from allocating a plot of land to the Lavra to be used to build housing for the brethren of the monastery.
In April of this year, radicals demanded that the Cabinet of Ministers cancel the 2003 transfer of several buildings to the Lavra. In September, His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary, the Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, said, “We know from our sources that the Ministry of Culture has already received a directive to prepare all the documents for registration of a new structure.”
In June, the brotherhood was also forced to respond to the ridiculous slander that the brotherhood clergy refused to commune children who had read the Lord’s Prayer in the Ukrainian language.
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