Kiev Caves brotherhood appeals for end to state persecution

Kiev, March 15, 2023

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The abbot and brotherhood of the persecuted Kiev Caves Lavra published a video appeal to the President, Ministers, and Deputies of Ukraine yesterday, calling on the state to leave the monks in peace to carry out their vocation of prayer.

The brotherhood was informed on March 10 that the state is breaking its lease with the Church to use the Lower Lavra and that the monks have until March 29 to vacate the premises. The Lavra has been a state-run museum since Soviet times, and its territory is divided into the Upper and Lower Lavras. The Church was already kicked out of the Upper Lavra at the end of last year.

The Lavra has continually appealed for peace, for the state to end its persecution of the Church and the monastery, but to no avail. His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod, the abbot of the monastery, said in another video address on Monday that the monks have no intention of leaving their home.

“There is no choice before us—we have already made it,” Met. Pavel tells the authorities in yesterday’s appeal, flanked by dozens of monks. “We came to the Lavra to dedicate our lives to serving God, to prayer, to the people.”

“We pray for our state and we ask today, in such difficult times, that the Lord would preserve it for us.”

The Metropolitan continues:

We are citizens of Ukraine and we ask those in power not to interfere in the affairs of the Church. We’re not asking for protection, but only one thing: the enforcement of the laws of the state. And once again we ask, we implore to leave the monks in the monastery alone, to give them the opportunity to fulfill their main mission—prayer.

I believe and hope that we will be heard and the Lord of peace and love will save the state for us, for us in this country and the Church.

“Historical, epoch-making events are taking place now. Do those in power really want to go down in history as villains and persecutors of the Church, like Diocletian, Trojan, Maximian?” the brotherhood asks.

One of the hieromonks of Lavra brotherhood also appeals in English:

Today, we are in front of the whole world. We want to communicate to the whole world that we are Christians, we are Orthodox, and we aren’t afraid of anybody and anything. We are ready to be here to the end. If someone wants to come here and beat us and draw us through our legs and our hands, we are ready. We aren’t afraid.

Everything that the people condemned us for—we did nothing against our Church, nothing against our country, our Ukraine. We pray to God for our country, for our nation, but everyone in our country condemns us as traitors. We aren’t traitors. We are Christians, and we confess in front of the whole world that we are Christians, that we want to follow Church rules, we want to be God’s slaves; we are slaves of our God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

“We thank the Lord for His great mercy that He has vouchsafed us to live in the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra," says Met. Pavel.

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