Schismatics: We’ll get the whole Kiev Caves Lavra then go for Pochaev

Kiev, January 26, 2023

Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra. Photo: Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra. Photo:     

The schismatics of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” served in the Holy Dormition Cathedral in the Upper Lavra in Kiev on the feasts of Nativity and Theophany after the canonical Church under His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine was evicted by the state.

For the time being, the Church is still permitted to use the Lower Lavra, where the Caves, monastic cells, and theological schools are located, though the schismatics openly state their aim to seize the entire monastery, which has the backing of at least some in the government.

The Lavra has been a state-owned museum since Soviet times, and is administratively divided into the Upper and Lower Lavra. The Upper Lavra includes the main churches of the monastery—the Holy Dormition Cathedral and the Sts. Anthony and Theodosius Trapeza Church.

Earlier this month, “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, the head of the schismatic OCU, said during a telethon that he expects that the entire Lavra will be peacefully transferred to the OCU at some point in the future, reports

“The future of the Kiev Caves Lavra is to be fully in the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. First, we will serve on major feasts, and when the clergy of the Lavra are formed, when some of the monks from the Lower Lavra [monks of the canonical Church—OC] join us, then we’ll establish daily services. And in the cathedrals, in the central Holy Dormition Cathedral, services will be held every Sunday,” the false Metropolitan said.

In an interview with published yesterday, Dumenko further claimed that they “have information from within [the Lavra] that most of the brethren are already ready to join the OCU monastery.”

According to Egvenia Kravchuk, Deputy Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy, the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice is set to begin checking the lease agreement for the Church under Met. Onuphry to use the Lower Lavra, which, given the state’s current attitude towards the Orthodox Church, could likely lead to the Church being completely evicted from the Lavra altogether.

And according to Dumenko, the Kiev Caves Lavra isn’t enough for them.

“We always talk about two Lavras. The process has begun with Kiev, and we will gradually entrench ourselves in the Kiev Caves Lavra and then raise the question about the Pochaev Lavra,” he said in an interview with Suspilne News.

“This sacred site should belong to the Ukrainian people. A real Ukrainian Church should worship there,” Dumenko added, although the canonical Ukrainian Church is already a Church run by and for Ukrainians, which is by far the largest religious organization in the country.

The OCU press service similarly characterized their Nativity service in the Lavra as liberation “from the spiritual yoke of Moscow!”

Schismatics and nationalists have been attempting to kick the Church out of the Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra as well for years now, although before the war started in February, such attempts ultimately failed.

Earlier this month, Evgenia Kravchuk said the Pochaev Lavra would also be checked for compliance with legislation on the protection of architectural monuments. A petition was also posted on the site of the Cabinet of Ministers calling for the Church to be kicked out of the sacred monastery in Pochaev.

At the same time, the Uniate Greek Catholic church also has its eyes on the Pochaev Lavra, which they once occupied for a time in the 18th-19th centuries.

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