Kiev, March 10, 2023
The Ukrainian state’s persecution against the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church under His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine continues in full force.
According to a letter from the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and the Kiev Caves Lavra National Reserve, the UOC has until March 29 to entirely leave the premises of the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra—the holiest site in all of Ukraine, where the UOC has prayed and ascetically struggled for 1,000 years.
The Ukrainian government inherited ownership of the Kiev Caves Lavra from the Soviet Union, and the “National Reserve,” as the state calls is, is divided into the Upper and Lower Lavra. The Church was already kicked out of the Upper Lavra, which includes the Holy Dormition Cathedral and the Sts. Anthony and Theodosius Trapeza Church, at the end of last year.
The Orthodox Church held its last service in the Upper Lavra on New Year’s Eve. Despite the persecution, the faithful people of Kiev maintained their faith, joyfully singing “Christ is Risen!” the last service.
The brotherhood has pled with the state to stop the persecution of the monastery and the UOC, but to no avail.
Since expelling Orthodoxy from the Upper Lavra, the state has allowed the schismatics of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” a creation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople together with the Ukrainian and U.S. governments, to serve in the churches of the Upper Lavra several times—which the canonical Church characterizes as a national disgrace. The churches have also been used for concerts, including songs about killing Russians, and art shows.
And now, the Church has been informed that it has until March 29 to leave the Lavra altogether. The Lower Lavra, which the UOC still had access to, is home to the actual caves, the monks’ cells, and the Kiev Theological Seminary and Academy.
The “Kiev Caves Lavra” National Reserve (hereinafter referred to as the Reserve) and the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra (male monastery) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (hereinafter referred to as the monastery) signed agreement No. 2 of July 19, 2013 on the free use by a religious organization of religious buildings and other property that is state property (hereinafter referred to as the agreement).
According to the decree of the president of Ukraine No. 820/2022 “On the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine of December 1, 2022 ‘on certain aspects of the activities of religious organizations in Ukraine and the application of personal special economic and other restrictive measures (sanctions),” the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine of December 23, 2022 No. 1416 established an interdepartmental working group to prepare proposals and recommendations for organizing the implementation of certain tasks related to the activities of religious organizations in Ukraine, which, during its work, found that the monastery violated the terms of the contract for the use of state property.
Taking into account the conclusions of the interdepartmental working group and the letter of the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine dated 03.09.2023 No. 06/34/2234-23, on the basis of clause 8.1. of the agreement, the Reserve informs of the termination of the agreement starting 03.29.2023.
In order to carry out the procedure of acceptance and transfer of state property, the monastery must take measures to release buildings and structures (property) that are state property and are on the balance sheet of the Reserve, at the address: Kiev, Lavrskaya St., 11, Kiev, Lavrskaya St., 15 by 03.29.2023.
Please provide by 03.14.2023 a list of representatives from the monastery (full name) in the amount of two or three people for inclusion in the commission for the acceptance and transfer of state property, which will be formed by order of the management body of the state institution.