Kythira, Greece, March 29, 2023
The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece and of all Local Orthodox Churches must take a stand against the persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Kiev Caves Lavra, says His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythira of the Church of Greece.
Met. Seraphim is one of few Greek hierarchs who takes a vocal stand against the recognition of the Ukrainian schismatics.
In his new statement, published on the official site of his metropolis, he also recalls his own pilgrimage to Kiev nearly two decades ago.
Just after the tragedy of the Tempe train accident, there comes “another sad event of spiritual quality and importance—the announced cruel and relentless persecution of 200 monks and novices of the famous Kiev Lavra, following the order of the state authorities of Ukraine.”
While the war continues, Met. Onuphry and the “martyred people of Ukraine” are also persecuted by “sword” of Ukrainian state power, he writes.
His Eminence then recalls how he was blessed to visit Kiev 17 years ago and venerate the relics in the Lavra. “A very moving and unforgettable pilgrimage in a sacred and mystical atmosphere,” he writes. “The holy relics … breathed out the aroma of holiness. Unforgettable moments of holy meditation and spiritual exchange.”
He also emphasizes how this sacred place, which has shown for ten centuries, was restored by the monks themselves. However, the state is forcefully expelling those faithful monks, he writes—a situation that is cause for mourning.
“I express my ardent wish and hope that our Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, as well as the other Local Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, will take the appropriate position and will strongly disapprove of this anti-spiritual act at the expense of the souls of the faithful and devoted.”
And to give a “clear and unambiguous picture of the terrible and horrible drama of the Orthodox Christian people of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” His Eminence then quotes three texts: the UOC Holy Synod’s call for the faithful to protect the Lavra, the letters of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow to religious leaders, and the appeal of the faithful of the village of Yurkovtsi, where their priest was shamelessly dragged around the church, on video.
The Center for Patristic Studies in Marousi, Greece, also issued a statement of protest against the persecution of the Lavra.