Kiev, June 7, 2023
The Ministry of Culture’s demand that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church vacate the Kiev Caves Lavra within three days and transfer the property back to the state is “illegal and groundless,” says the Legal Department of the UOC.
The Ministry’s demand constitutes a unilateral termination of the contract of usage of the Lower Lavra concluded between the state and the Church, and therefore “is not subject to execution,” the Information-Education Department of the UOC quotes the Legal Department as saying.
Minister of Culture Alexander Tkachenko published the relevant order yesterday. According to him, if the Church doesn’t leave the territory of its own monastery, the matter will be taken to court.
However, “the case is already being considered in court and any actions to deprive the UOC of the right to use the Lavra are illegal,” the Legal Department responds. The state has brought a case against the monastery, and the monastery a case against the state.
The monastery never received a report on the results from the commission tasked with inspecting the state of the Lavra, nor did it receive any documentation supporting its conclusion. According to the Ministry of Culture, this information is classified, though a court has ordered that it be put at the monastery’s disposal.
“Taking into account the above, the requirement to terminate the use and return of state property is illegal and can’t be fulfilled,” the Legal Department concludes.