Kiev, March 23, 2023
The Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is calling upon its faithful children to strengthen their faith and prayers and to help protect the Kiev Caves Lavra by any legal means.
Recall that the state informed the monastery on March 10 that the monks have until March 29 to completely leave their home. The brotherhood has repeatedly affirmed that it has no intention of obeying such an illegal order.
The Holy Synod met on Monday to formulate a response to the state. An appeal to President Zelensky was drafted, and the hierarchs went to his office to personally deliver it to him, but they weren’t received, even after waiting outside for several hours.
At the same time, an appeal to the faithful children of the UOC and all the people of Ukraine was drafted:
The appeal of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the faithful children
of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the people of Ukraine
March 20, 2023
Your Eminences and Graces!
Dear Right-Reverends and Reverends!
Dear brothers and sisters!
God-loving Ukrainian people!
Recently, the entire Orthodox world was stirred up by the news of the groundless deprivation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the right to reside in the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra. Representatives of the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine announced their intention to evict the monastic community from the territory of the Kiev Caves Lavra, which the monks literally spent 35 years raising from the ruins since the activity of this ancient monastery was restored. They’re expelling monks and novices from their homes, hiding behind far-fetched, non-existent arguments with no real basis.
Unfortunately, the time of war that we’re currently experiencing has brought us all, in addition to external trials, many internal trials. The large-scale pressure on the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is growing, and today we appeal to all of you, beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, with a word of living love and a call for firm and unshakable standing in the faith, which preaches not discord, but unity, not malice, but reconciliation, not cruelty, but mercy.
We, the faithful of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church, unite in the common goal of preserving Ukraine. And each of us, as a conscious citizen of our native state, has organized himself to the best of his ability to protect it: Our people carry out comprehensive volunteer activities, give shelter to displaced people, selflessly and sincerely help with everything they can. Thanks to you, dear brothers and sisters, our Church has done a lot: Hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid and significant financial support have found their real necessary purpose. The feat of defending the motherland at the front, looking into the eyes of death every minute, is borne by thousands of believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, including parishioners of our Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra. What do our powers-that-be do in return? They trample and ruin our holy sites, trying to intimidate us, the Orthodox, comprehensively, persuade us to some kind of “compromise" and, as a result, simply destroy us.
Today, the future fate of our most valuable holy site—the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra is on everyone’s lips. The holy Lavra is the pearl of Ukraine and a spiritual outpost of prayer for the Ukrainian land and people and for the entire Orthodox world. In 1988, the museum handed over 15 buildings to the monks, which were in extremely terrible condition. Over the course of 35 years since the restoration of monastic life, the brethren of the monastery have not simply rebuilt and restored everything around, but have multiplied and decorated the Kievan lot of the Mother of God. Here the lamp of prayer for everyone and for everything ever glows—in these gentle signs to God live the entire Ukrainian people.
We felt the support of our people on the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent, the Sunday of the Synaxis of All the Saints of the Kiev Caves, when thousands of people came to confess their faith in what is eternal and not perishable, what is alive and not dead, what is real and sincere and not illusory. The procession after the Divine Liturgy was attended by people of different views and political beliefs, who were united by love for the saints of the Caves. All of them came out to express their support for the brotherhood and their civic will.
Now many are turning to the hierarchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church with a request to bless the spiritual labor to protect our legitimate right and to continue to pray in the Kiev Caves Lavra and take care of it. We sincerely thank all of you, dear brothers and sisters, for your unshakable faith in God and love for the holy Church. Nothing can break our firm will to defend holy Orthodoxy. We must courageously hold on to the Truth. St. Mark of Ephesus, a great champion of holy Orthodoxy, teaches: “What concerns the Church is never corrected through compromises: there is nothing in between truth and falsehood.”
We call on everyone to strengthen their faith, strengthen their prayers, and protect our most precious holy site—the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra by all legal means. May the Lord, through the prayers of the Venerable Fathers of the Kiev Caves, help us all in the noble work of standing steadfast upon the rock of faith, that we may be filled with the fruits of righteousness for the glory and praise of God (cf. Phil. 1:11).
We invoke God's blessing on all of you!