Kiev, January 27, 2023
The clergy and brethren of the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra have again confirmed their faithfulness to the holy Orthodox faith in the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and to their beloved primate, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.
Their statement, posted on the site of the Lavra yesterday, serves as a response to “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, the head of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” who recently repeated his claim that many of the Lavra monks intend to transfer to his structure once it’s safe for them to do so.
Dumenko’s statement is part of the heavy state and schismatic propaganda aimed at completely evicting the Orthodox Church from the Lavra in favor of the graceless schismatics.
But despite the pressure, the Lavra remains faithful:
We, the clergy and brethren of the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra, in this terrible hour of military disaster and extremely difficult trials for Ukraine, appeal to all the faithful children of the UOC.
It’s with great pain that we have to state the facts that, despite the fact that according to Ukrainian legislation, “all religions, confessions, and religious organizations are equal before the law, and the establishment of any advantages or restrictions of one religion, confession, or religious organization in relation to others is not allowed,” we’re experiencing oppression in our activities and religious life. In particular: searches are conducted, criminal cases are initiated, sanctions are imposed, bank accounts are blocked, all kinds of obstacles for the celebration of the Divine services are erected, churches are illegally and forcibly seized, and threats and mudslinging are heard in the information space.
In the largest churches of the Kiev Caves Lavra, we now have no right to celebrate the Divine services, namely: in the Trapeza Church that we’ve completely restored, and the Dormition Cathedral—the largest international Orthodox shrine, literally raised from the ruins.
On the site of our monastery, a legal entity with an almost identical name was registered, namely the religious organization of the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra (male monastery) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (ORTHODOX CHURCH OF UKRAINE). Moreover, in his recent statements and interviews, its head, Epiphany (Dumenko), expressed his conviction that we, the brethren of the Kiev Caves Lavra, will switch or allegedly want to switch to the “OCU.” However, there’s a simple question that can’t be answered in the affirmative: How can any Christian pray in a church with robbers who first expelled members of the Body of Christ from this sacred site and continue to do so in other places of our state, and then invite them to “common prayer?”
Rest assured that we’re making every effort to protect both our monastery and the invaluable experience of the monastic school that has developed over the long period of its existence.
Our history from a century ago gives us steadfastness and confidence in our chosen position. Rereading it, you marvel how many similarities there are between what happened then and what’s happening now. At that time, with the help of the GPU (State Political Administration), all the churches in the Lavra were seized. The Renovationist “Living Church” hoped, with the help of the GPU, to also take the monastics to its side along with the churches. But out of more than five hundred monks, no more than ten took the wrong path, and they soon repented.
We try to continue this tradition of fidelity, so if you hear from someone (whoever it may be) that we have changed our position, don’t believe it. We’re not abandoning our faith (either in whole or in part), steeped in the sanctity of past centuries, in favor of constantly changing political manipulations. Throughout this period, we’ve gone through six presidents and can’t obey them if this submission leads away from the Truth, because we’re not political adherents, but children of God.
Therefore, we assure you that we have been, are, and will be in the Truth and faithful to our canonical Church and its primate, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry.
We ask for your prayerful support. May the blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ, as well as the prayerful intercession of the Mother of God and all the saints of the Kiev Caves be with us all.
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