Attempts have been underway for years to take several buildings away from the Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra, one of the holiest sites in all of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, and the Lavra is under constant attack in the media, enduring much slander. As OrthoChristian reported on November 20, the Lavra brethren released a message in response to the latest media attacks and to the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture’s latest appeal to have the registration of several buildings to the monastery through January 1, 2052 revoked.
Then, on November 23, the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice satisfied the Ministry of Culture’s request and canceled the registration of the several buildings to the holy monastery, as the Union of Orthodox Journalists reported with reference to the Ministry of Justice’s website.
Thus, the brethren of the Lavra have released another statement, noting the current authorities’ communist methods aimed at destroying Orthodox monasticism in western Ukraine.
The statement reads in full:
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
With sorrow in our hearts, we appeal to you with a request to strengthen your prayerful vigil for the sake of the peace and unity of the faithful in the bosom of the canonical Church.
We are compelled to state that at present the Ukrainian authorities are using communist methods of battling against the Orthodox Church.
For example, about 100 years ago the Bolshevik leaders, especially L. D. Trotsky, and those with him, set themselves the task of creating an Orthodox Church organization under the control of the soviet authorities. Thus, there appeared the renovationist movement or the “Living Church.” One of the main ideas of this organization was the abolition of monasticism.
After the creation of the renovationist organization, the Bolsheviks began an active battle with the Orthodox Church which became outlawed. Under the slogan of “complicity in the counter-revolution,” churches and Church valuables were seized and harsh repressions were used against the clergy. It is worth noting that the schismatics-renovationists were supported by the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
This “Living Church” did not last for even thirty years but the canonical Church stands unwaveringly to this day.
Unfortunately, the new party leaders do not remember the lessons of history.
The authorities’ rhetoric has not changed for the past 100 years: The inhabitants of the Lavra remain for them “collaborators in the counter-revolution.” Using the controlled mass media, the current government plants this view in our Ukrainian people more and more every day.
Along with this, the Pochaev city council refused to comply with the legal decision of the court obliging it to transfer plots of land to the Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra for use as the brothers’ residential buildings.
At the present time, the Commission of the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice has annulled the registration of the agreement on the right of usage of the Dormition Cathedral, Holy Trinity Cathedral, monastic cells, the bell tower, the bishop’s residence, and the holy gates in response to the complaint of the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture. It should be noted that this is already the third attempt to the turn the holy site into a museum since 2000.
We believe that the Prosecutor’s Office is also trying to achieve a similar goal, having opened several groundless criminal cases in a short period of time.
In the context of the removal of the right of usage, the matter concerns the place of residence of 200 monks and 50 novices—people who have renounced the world and dedicated their entire lives to the service of God.
We must state that at the present time, the current Ukrainian authorities have taken a course towards confiscating property from the Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra and transferring it to the newly-created church organization, and consequently—towards the destruction of monasticism in western Ukraine.
The Brethren of the Lavra