Don’t repeat the mistakes of Lenin, Stalin and Khruschev, Pochaev abbot tells local official

Pochaev, Ternopil Province, Ukraine, May 4, 2023

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On Tuesday, May 2, His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir of Pochaev, the abbot of the Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra, addressed the head of the Ternopil Provincial Council Mikhail Golovko, who earlier declared that the Church has supposedly violated its usage agreement at the state-owned Lavra.

“The goals that you are pursuing are, so to speak, to legally expel the monks from the monastery,” His Eminence said, reports the Information-Education Department of the UOC.

In fact, the Council itself has openly stated in the past that its aim is simply to kick the Church out.

Met. Vladimir also spoke out instances in the past when the authorities tried to empty the Lavra and the brethren were persecuted. The Soviets nationalized the Lavra churches and used them as a museum of atheism, a laundromat, a hospital, a pigsty, and so on.

A long-time employee of the “God-fighting and anti-Ukrainian propaganda” museum was present at the recent session of the Ternopil Council, His Eminence notes.

And under the administration of the state, the churches fell into severe disrepair.

Met. Vladimir continued:

You want to expel the monks, Ukrainians, your countrymen, who in the past defended this holy place at the cost of their lives from complete annihilation and destruction. Fear God and His justice. It’s difficult to imagine what the brethren of the Pochaev Lavra experienced during the Soviet God-fighting, communist period. These are really terrible, tragic pages in the history of the holy monastery. Many of the brethren have endured several prison sentences for their faith, for the holy monastery.

On the official website of the Pochaev Lavra there’s a photo album with comparisons of the condition the Lavra was in in the 90s and how it is now. Therefore, don’t listen to those who mislead you, as if many buildings on the territory of the Lavra were built without appropriate permits. Everything that’s been restored on the territory of the Lavra, that has been built, has the appropriate permits from the Ministry of Culture and construction companies. This is evidenced by a number of documents and certificates.

Met. Vladimir also reminded the official of their meeting at the monastery after the war began last year, when the hierarch testified that the brotherhood stands with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. He also recalls that His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine condemned the war on the very day it began, and that the Ukrainian Church separated itself from the Moscow Patriarchate at its Council last May.

The Council Chairman has seen with his own eyes how well the brotherhood takes care of the monastery, the bishop-abbot emphasizes.

He concludes:

In this difficult time that we’re going through, religious issues shouldn’t create enmity and discord. Our Church prays for our Ukrainian land every day. Just like you, we worry about the fate of our homeland and ask God for peace to come to our Ukrainian land. As a believer and the head of the Provincial Council, please do not repeat the mistakes that Lenin, Stalin and Khruschev made during their rule.

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