Pochaev, Ukraine, December 6, 2018
The Ukrainian state has taken the Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra in its sights in recent weeks, gradually eroding the brotherhood’s legal rights to the buildings of the monastery against the backdrop of Constantinople’s developing plans to create a new church in Ukraine.
On November 23, the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine canceled the registration of several monastery buildings, including churches, to the monastery, and on November 28, the 2003 decision transferring those buildings from the Kremenets-Pochaev State Historical-Architectural Reserve to the use of the monastic brotherhood was canceled by the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers.
The brotherhood believes the state is planning to take the monastery away from the canonical Ukrainian Church and give it to the new church, which a lawyer representing the Historical Reserve acknowledged as a distinct possibility.
However, as the abbot, His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir of Pochaev, said in a recent interview, “The Lavra is ruled neither by the Ministry of Culture nor the local history reserve, but by the Mother of God.”
The pressure on the Lavra continued yesterday as representatives from the Reserve appeared at the Lavra to inspect the premises and take an inventory of the “artifacts” there, reports the site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Moreover, the inspection was carried out based on the registration of the objects in the Lavra from the 1960s.
The audit was carried out in the Holy Dormition Cathedral, Holy Trinity Cathedral, the monastic cells, the bishop’s house, the bell towers, and the gate house—the buildings that had formerly been registered to the monastery.
The inspectors found all of the “artifacts” in place.
Such games were also played out at the Kiev Caves Lavra late last month, when a special commission from the Ministry of Culture arrived unannounced to carry out a similar “inventory” of sacred objects for the first time in 30 years.
The brotherhood of the Pochaev Lavra previously characterized the state’s actions as communist methods of putting pressure on the monastery and aimed at destroying monasticism.
Commenting on the situation with the Pochaev Lavra, His Eminence Archbishop Clement of Nizhyn and Prilusk, the head of the Ukrainian Church’s Information-Education Department, noted:
This is a formal raiding, because no reserve ever built the Pochaev Lavra, and no Ministry of Culture ever invested a single penny to restoring the Lavra, and the state has done nothing to preserve the Lavra in its modern form. The state destroyed the Lavra, turned it into a psychiatric hospital, a hospital for infectious diseases, and so on—the state has done nothing more. And now it just declares that it all belongs to the state. No one asked the Church, the people that built it. When did the Lavra and the land become state property? They belonged to the Church from time immemorial.
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