Korets, Rivne Province, Ukraine, November 23, 2022
The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) thoroughly inspected all buildings and people at the Holy Trinity Monastery in Korets, Rivne Province, yesterday, but their search turned up nothing.
The SBU carried out searches at the Kiev Caves Lavra, the Korets Monastery, the Volyn Icon of the Mother of God Convent in Serniki, Rivne Province, the Archangel Michael-Zverinets Monastery in Kiev, and at the administration of the canonical Church’s Diocese of Sarny and Polesia yesterday.
The government agency said it was searching for weapons and pro-Russian sabotage groups.
However, despite its suspicions, nothing was found at the Korets Monastery, says Mother Savatia.
The SBU “talked to us, then examined our phones, our contacts to see who we talk to, whether we have any connections.” But in the end, “they didn’t find any illegal connections.”
They also inspected the monastery buildings, but again, found nothing. “We’re not doing anything illegal,” Mother Savatia says. “We were born in Ukraine, we live in Ukraine and we want to die in Ukraine. We pray for peace. We are all for Ukraine!”
Vladimir Legoida, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for Church Relations with Society and the Media, called on the Ukrainian state to stop such persecution against the Church and its faithful, and to leave the holy sites in peace.
“No one remembers that in Russia and in Ukraine, the Church is the only place where sincere prayers for peace in such conditions of alienation are offered up with one mouth. This is probably what haunts the enemy of mankind, sowing new seeds of discord,” Legoida said.
According to the SBU, more than 350 church buildings and 850 people were checked yesterday altogether. More than 50 people had to undergo in-depth counterintelligence examinations, including both Ukrainian and Russian citizens.
The SBU suspects one man found on the territory of the Kiev Caves Lavra of being in volved with a “pro-Russian news agency.”
The report also says that “pro-Russian literature used in seminary and parish schools, including for propaganda of the ‘Russian World’” was found. As can be seen in the photos published by the SBU from yesterday’s search and earlier searches, the literature in question includes spiritual books by Archimandrite Kirill (Pavlov), a collection of homilies of Patriarch Kirill, various Moscow Patriarchate publications, and books in defense of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church against the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”
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