Kiev, July 6, 2021
If urgent measures are not taken, there is a threat of the destruction of the labyrinths of the Near Caves at the Holy-Dormition Kiev Caves Lavra.
His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl, the abbot of the monastery, recently addressed a letter to Ukrainian Prime Ministery Denis Shmygal, appealing to the government to help preserve the architectural monument of national significance, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, reports the Information Center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
“Recently, the level of soil moisture has increased. If urgent measures are not taken, there is a threat of destruction of the cave labyrinths, which could lead to irreparable losses and human casualties,” the letter reads.
The spots in question are part of the pilgrimage route through the Near Caves, His Eminence points out. The Lavra is home to two sets of caves—the Near and Far Caves. The Near Caves were founded in 1057 by St. Anthony, who co-founded the monastery together with St. Theodosius.
The hydrological conditions of the emergency areas of the Caves remains serious due to both natural and man-made factors, Met. Pavel notes. According to the Committees for Technical and Economic Safety and Emergency Situations, due to the level of soil moisture, the situation is categorized as an emergency of a regional scale.
Given the situation, Met. Pavel asks the Prime Minister to consider allocating funds from the state’s emergency reserve fund, and to issue appropriate instructions to the Ministries of Economy and Finance.