Kiev, April 3, 2023
His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod, abbot of the persecuted Kiev Caves Lavra, was sentenced yesterday to 60 days of house arrest in a village near Kiev with an ankle bracelet for speaking out against the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”
The court explicitly denied him the right to attend services at the Lavra, reports the Ukrainian outlet Strana.
He was, however, allowed to record a message to the Local Orthodox Churches and journalists:
Your Holiness, the Orthodox Local Churches, your beatitudes, our Synod, the Episcopate, this is what they do in our country with objectionable people. Well, God help them. I blessed all the presidents for the elections, prayed, and today I have been awarded such a great honor…
I’m very, very grateful to everyone. I won’t cry, I’ve already cried it all out. I pray to God that the Lord will send them reason… Thank you. God bless you. I love you. Show about the Lavra more often, show the caves more often, not in a political way. so that people would know that our country is rich in the gifts of the grace of the Holy Spirit. Holy people live here, there are a lot of us Orthodox, not only in Ukraine, but all over the world. I’m grateful to you, dear journalists, for everything.
His statement from court resembles that which he made in church when the police came to escort him out. Met. Pavel told the people that he desired to suffer for Christ and asked that they not prevent the police from taking him. “These policemen will escort me like angels,” he said:
The drama began and quickly unfolded on Saturday when representatives of the Security Service informed Met. Pavel that he was being investigated for inciting religious enmity for his criticisms of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the schismatic OCU, and for justifying Russia’s armed aggression, thus demonstrating that the state simply ignores the many statements on the matter from the UOC leadership.
His Eminence replied: “I condemned, condemn, and will condemn all attempts against our state, and what Russia and Putin have done is in no way justified. I told you, and I always stood, stand and will stand in defense of my motherland.”
A Kiev court began hearing the Metropolitan’s case already that same day, giving his lawyers no time to prepare. The court denied the petition to postpone the session until Monday.
Met. Pavel became ill during the court session due to high blood pressure. The judge therefore postponed the case until Monday and Met. Pavel was taken to the hospital. However, authorities later decided to continue the case that same night, and Met. Pavel was forced to leave the hospital and return to court.
The court resolved to place the Lavra abbot under house arrest for two months and ordered that he wear an electronic ankle bracelet.