Kiev, April 6, 2023
Remain with the canonical Church and remain with the Kiev Caves Lavra, the monastery abbot urged in a video statement issued from house arrest earlier this week.
His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod, who has been abbot of the Lavra for 30 years, was officially informed on Saturday morning that he was under investigation for inciting religious enmity with his criticisms of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the schismatic OCU, and for allegedly justifying Russia’s armed aggression. The process developed uncharacteristically quickly, and already that evening he was sentenced to two months of house arrest in a village outside Kiev, without the possibility of attending the Divine services, while the pre-trial investigation continues against him.
In his video published on Tuesday, Vladyka Pavel thanked everyone for their prayers, emphasizing that “it strengthens me very much, gives me strength, spirit, vigor, and steadfastness in faith.”
His Eminence also recalled that the Lord Jesus Christ foretold such sufferings for believers, for which we will receive rewards in Heaven.
Addressing the laity who have been bravely defending the Lavra daily for a week now, Met. Pavel called: “Dear brothers and sisters, stick to the holy canonical Church, its primate, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, and the faithful bishops and priesthood of our holy Church.”
And turning to the monks of the Lavra, he also urged them to continue to stand strong: “Dear brothers, my beloved, the spiritual council, priests, all the monastics, novices… I’m with you. One thing I ask you: Don’t leave the Lavra, don’t become traitors. When Christ was on the Cross, everyone fled, leaving Him alone. Don’t leave Him today.”
Unfortunately one monk, Archimandrite Avraamy, decided to leave the Church and join the schismatics, being appointed abbot of their own organization dubbed the “Kiev Caves Lavra.”
Vladyka Pavel also had a message for the opponents of the Church, telling them one day they will be ashamed of their actions. “If you didn’t go to church to pray, don’t go there for your own condemnation.”
And speaking for himself, Met. Pavel said: “I’m not discouraged. I have nothing to be afraid of... I feel a surge of spiritual strength. What’s happening is a gift from God to strengthen my faith and, perhaps, to edify someone to stand stronger in faith.”