Kiev, July 5, 2023
Beginning in late March, the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church came out every day for weeks to prayerfully defend their beloved Kiev Caves Lavra against the state’s intention to evict the monks and seal up the churches and other buildings.
And the same happened again yesterday, when a commission from the Ministry of Culture, which legally owns the Kiev Caves Lavra, considering it a museum, came to inspect and seal up several buildings in the Lower Lavra, where the monks live and where the Caves are located. The Ministry’s aim is to find instances where the brotherhood has supposedly violated its agreement for usage of the monastery territory.
The commission was accompanied by several “activists” who regularly come out to provoke the parishioners and clergy of the monastery, reports the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
The UOJ then reported yesterday afternoon that the commission eventually left the Lavra without managing to seal up any of the buildings, as they were blocked from the entrances by the faithful of the UOC. The commission had intended to seal buildings with the monks’ cells and guest rooms, among others.
Before leaving, the members of the commission made a formal complaint to the police about the people who were blocking their way.
According to the Lavra’s lawyer, Archpriest Nikita Chekman, the monastery has never prevented representatives of the state-run Kiev Caves Lavra Museum and Preserve from exercising control over the property, but the intention of sealing the buildings is illegal, as the matter is currently being considered in court.
Beginning today, the Ministry of Culture has significantly reduced the schedule of the Lower Lavra. Previously, pilgrims could visit from 5:30 AM to 8:00 PM, but now they are restricted to visiting from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, which means they cannot attend early Liturgies.