Kiev, September 19, 2018
As the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s plans to grant autocephaly in Ukraine move along, so politicians and radicals are stepping up their threats against the holy sites of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
In a video posted on the monastery’s YouTube channel yesterday, the abbot of the Kiev Caves Lavra, His Eminence Metropolitan Paul of Vyshogorod and Chernobyl, spoke of violent provocations planned against the monastery in the coming months and urged all the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to strengthen their prayers for their holy Orthodox shrines.
Meanwhile, the former leader of a far-right Ukrainian nationalist group and current Parliamentarian Deputy has called for the government to conduct an audit of and register all the Church items and valuables in the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras.
The canonical Ukrainian Church and the Russian Church have repeatedly warned of such consequences of Constantinople’s plans to grant autocephaly to Ukrainian schismatics, but their concerns have been brushed aside.
“There are now threats that on October 14, on the feast of the Holy Protection, they will again seize our holy sites—the so-called ‘Moscow centers.’ Why ‘Moscow’ and not ‘Christ’s?’ Where is Moscow here? Here we preach Christ crucified and risen from the dead, and we call upon all to be Christians, not in name, but in life,” said Vladyka Paul.
The abbot also emphasized that the clergy of the Lavra do not engage in politics and do not incite people to rise up against one another, but rather pray “for their God-protected country of Ukraine, and its authorities and armed forces.”
“Let us not do evil or act with evil intentions, as now they are gathering signatures to take away the Kiev Caves Lavra according to some obscure law and return it to the state,” Met. Paul said, calling all to fervent prayer: “We must strength our prayers for our holy sites; we must protect them.”
These concerns were earlier sounded by the Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary in an interview with rbc.ua.
Recalling the repeated threats of the schismatic “Patriarch” Philaret of the so-called “Kiev Patriarchate” that the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras will be taken from the canonical Church and given to the new Ukrainian Church, which he intends to head, Met. Anthony stated, “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. Several nationalistic groups have also received directives to commit provocations against the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras on October 14.”
Likewise, a petition has been registered and hosted on the website of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers demanding to cancel the transferal of the Kiev Caves Lavra to the free use of the Church, which took place in July, 2013, and “and to return the buildings and structures to state ownership.” Philaret also recently met with the acting director of Kiev Caves Lavra Museum-Reserve Alexander Rudnik, demanding the speedy transfer of the 19th building to the “Kiev Patriarchate.”
Met. Anthony also expressed his conviction that the faithful people of the canonical Church will protect their holy shrines and urged the supporters of the movement for autocephaly to not provoke any conflict.
In addition to the governmental petition, Yuri Shukhevich, the former head of the Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People's Self-Defence, a far-right nationalistic group, and current MP from the “Radical Party” faction, has called on the government to take account of and register all the Church property of the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras.
His official address is posted on his personal Facebook page.
The MP also urged authorities “to ensure round-the-clock control over the export of property from these and other religious buildings controlled by the UOC MP,” making reference to Ukrainian media reports that the monks of the Lavras were preparing to move their Church valuables out of the monasteries. The Church has called such reports blatantly false.
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