Kiev, November 22, 2022
The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) began a “counterintelligence” search of the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra and other monasteries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church this morning.
The SBU, together with the National Police and National Guard are searching the Lavra for weapons and sabotage and reconnaissance groups, reports the Ukrainian outlet Strana.
The search comes just a week after the SBU opened criminal proceedings after a group of women sang a song about the spiritual rebirth of Holy Rus’ in one of the churches of the Lavra.
According to the SBU’s official Telegram channel, the search is being carried out “to counter the subversive activities of the Russian special services in Ukraine,” and “in order to prevent the Lavra being used as a center of the ‘Russian World.’”
Reporting the search of the Lavra, the SBU claims that it “adheres to the principle of impartiality to the activities of any religious denomination and respects the right of every citizen to freedom of worldview and religion, as defined by the constitution of Ukraine.”
And in the Rivne Province, the SBU is conducting similar searches at Holy Trinity Monastery in Korets, the Convent of the Volyn Icon of the Mother of God in the village of Serniki, and on the territory of the Sarny-Polesia Diocese of the canonical UOC, reports the Telegram channel On the Church and People.
The SBU has also searched the home and diocesan administration of His Eminence Metropolitan Jonathan of Tulchin, accusing him of justifying Russian aggression against Ukraine. The hierarch denies all charges, characterizing himself as a Ukrainian patriot.