Pochaev, November 8, 2019
The Pochaev City Council has voted to permanently allocate 1 or 3 plots of land to the Ukrainian Church’s Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra.
The council voted on November 2 to give the holy monastery nearly 6 acres of land.
The plots of land in question have been at the center of a battle for about 5 years now. Nationalists have tried in every way to prevent the transfer of any land to the monastery at previous City Council sessions. In June 2017, members of Svoboda started a fight, thwarting the Council session that was considering the question of granting permission to change the purpose of the land in question, and in October of the same year, Right Sector radicals again disrupted the Council session that was to consider the land question.
Under the radicals’ influence, local Deputies previously decided to postpone consideration of the land issue until the end of the conflict in Donbass.
The faithful of the canonical Church challenged the Deputies’ decision in court, where the delay was overturned and a new vote was called for, during which the Deputies decided to allocate 1 plot of land. The fate of the other 2 has not yet been determined.
Of course, their decision angered nationalists and terrorist groups, such as the All-Ukrainian Svoboda Association, which considers the land transfer a national issue, not simply local to Pochaev.
“To a certain extent, we have achieved the prevention of the revanche of the Moscow Patriarchate and this was achieved thanks to the efforts of the united forces of nationalists—Svoboda, Right Sector, and the National Corps,” said Ternopil Province Deputy Vasily Chashka, a member of the terrorist group Svoboda.
“Unfortunately, we could not defend one of the plots,” laments Chashka. The groups he mentioned are not just far-right nationalists, but terrorist groups that routinely attack the clergy, faithful, and parishes of the canonical Ukrainian Church.
The nationalists will demand answers from those who supported transferring land to the “aggressor country,” Chashka said, referring to Russia, although the Pochaev is located in Western Ukraine. The nationalists will “
fight for Ukrainian lands until the very end,” he proclaimed.
National Corps representatives have declared it their “sacred duty” to oppose the transfer of the lands.
Tenews.org.ua even “warned” local Deputies about the “danger” that pro-Russian elements will hide within the Lavra if the plot is transferred, printing and storing separatist literature.
Under President Poroshenko, the government was attempting to take the monastery lands altogether. On November 19, 2018, the Pochaev City Council held a Deputy’s session where they decided to cancel the transfer of the land plots from the brothers’ residential buildings of the Lavra; then on November 23, the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice canceled the decision on state registration of the rights of usage of the complex of buildings; and again, five days later, on November 28, the Cabinet of Ministers canceled its decision No. 438 from July 17, 2003, “On the Exclusion of the Buildings of the Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra From the Composition of the Kremenets-Pochaev State Historical-Architectural Reserve.” In fact, the Pochaev Lavra was transferred to the disposal of the museum.