Arsonists of Tithes Monastery released on bail

Kiev, February 6, 2018

Meanwhile, the precious right hand of St. George has arrived at the monastery from Mt. Athos

Photo: The Union of Orthodox Journalists Photo: The Union of Orthodox Journalists

A Kiev court has released the two men who were sentenced for committing arson against the Tithes Monastery of the Mother of God, Alexander Gorban and Alexei Shemotiuk, reports Interfax-Religion.

The Press Secretary of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Larisa Sargan wrote on Twitter today that the two men were released on bail. They had been sentenced to two months’ imprisonment or a 2.2 million hryvnia ($77,000) bail. UNIAN reports that the amount was paid by several Parliamentarian Deputies and representatives of the Joint Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

The arsonists’ supporters greeted the appellate court’s decision with cheers. The court also ordered the men to surrender their passports and other documents and to remain in Kiev.

The monastery’s site reported yesterday that the brotherhood of the Tithes Monastery had also filed an application with the appellate court to release the two men on bail on the monastery’s account. Several hundred faithful came out to prayerfully defend the monastery again as Gorban and Shemotiuk’s appeals hearing was underway.

“We are united by a common impulse to protect our holy sites. People with pure hearts protect their homes and their saints,” Valentina Kudryavskaya, who was present at the moleben yesterday, stated.

There have been several attacks lately, and over the past several years, against the Tithes Monastery from members of radical nationalist groups in Kiev. The enemies of the Church have even circulated a petition calling for its destruction. Ukrainian radicals believe the monastery is a “Russian agent” because it falls under the canonical jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. However, the attacks have been occurring under the pretense that the monastery’s Vladimiro-Olginsky Church illegally stands on the territory of the Kiev History Museum.

Supporters of the arsonists, who caused damage to the church’s door early in the morning of January 25, have said that the setting of the fire was not an act of arson, but a demonstration meant to draw attention to the church’s supposed illegal status.

However, Archpriest Alexander Bakhov, the head of the Ukrainian Church’s legal department has confirmed that all the proper legal documents exist to confirm the church’s status.

Meanwhile, the precious right hand of the Great Martyr St. George the Victorious arrived at the Tithes Monastery today from Mt. Athos. The holy relic will remain at the monastery until the beginning of Great Lent. A moleben and akathist with prayers for peace in Ukraine will be celebrated before the relics every day.

The video below shows the official greeting of the holy relic:

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