Kiev, October 16, 2020
A Kiev court has ordered the Prosecutor General to open an investigation into the nationalistic, anti-Orthodox and anti-Russian propaganda in an article regarding the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra in a September issue of the official newspaper of the Verkhovna Rada, the state’s Parliamentary body.
On Monday, October 12, the Pechersk District of Kiev ordered the investigation into the fact of the incitement of religious enmity and the debasing of the religious sensibilities of the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine in the article “Pochaev Lavra—an Outpost of the Russian World” in the September 1 edition of The Voice of Ukraine, reports Zagittya.com.ua.
“A pre-trial investigation has been launched against officials of the printed publication whose actions are aimed at inciting religious hatred and humiliating the dignity of UOC parishioners, which is unacceptable in a state governed by the rule of law,” the report reads.
In the article in question, columnist Svetlana Chernaya writes of the Pochaev Lavra as a center of the “Russian world,” where “the political and ideological constructions of the ‘Russian world’ are being persistently implanted in the consciousness of the local population.”
“In the context of Russia’s undeclared war against Ukraine … the main striking force of the aggressor here is the UOC-MP, which in the Ternopil Province turned one of the most famous monasteries in the world—the Pochaev-Holy Dormition Lavra—into an outpost of the ‘Russian world,’” Chernaya writes.
The Lavra is “a powerful propaganda tower that sends a certain signal programmed by Russia,” the author states, emphasizing that “The authorities’ underestimation of the threats posed by the UOC-MP … is also a direct threat to the social and national security of our state.”
The article also states that the language of the services in the Lavra is the “language of the occupier,” which is a threat of the “primitive worldview tradition and values” that are being implanted from foreign Moscow soil into Ukrainian soil.
Note that The Voice of Ukraine itself is published in the “language of the occupier” in addition to Ukrainian.
The services are celebrated in the Pochaev Lavra in Church Slavonic, which has substantial differences from the modern Russian language. It traces to the old Bulgarian language and is the common inheritance of all Slavic Orthodox Churches.
Chernaya’s article has been removed from the newspaper’s website, though it also appeared in the print edition.