“All the accusations are utter lies”—abbot of Kiev Caves Lavra addresses the brotherhood from detention

Kiev, July 19, 2023

Photo: lavra.ua Photo: lavra.ua     

The persecuted abbot of the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra published an address to the monastery brotherhood from the detention center where he is being held by state authorities.

As head of the famous monastery, His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl is a target for state authorities, who are accusing him of inciting religious enmity and supporting the war—the same charges used for any cleric they want to detain. After months of house arrest, a judge ordered to move the hierarch to a pre-trial detention center last week. He also set bail at nearly $900,000—which, as many outlets have pointed out, is much higher than the bail set for murderers and human traffickers in Ukraine.

The abbot addressed his brotherhood on Monday, encouraging them to maintain their faith and to do all things with a blessing:

Peace be upon you, beloved fathers and brothers!

I am writing to you from the Lukyanovka pre-trial detention center in Kiev, where the brethren of our Holy Lavra were imprisoned in the 1920s and 30s. They demanded from me that we leave the Lavra in order to hand you and your families over in the future for blackmail and checks by the Security Service of Ukraine, which I did not do.

All the accusations are utter lies. Crafty witnesses, including those from the brotherhood, cannot accuse me of anything. The lawyers are very capable, but no one listens to them. I testify to this because in my enclosure, they’re all political prisoners. The judge’s decisions were prepared long ago. The prosecutor, the investigator, and the judge are the same troika that tried Mikhail Semenovich Litvinenko and other confessors and martyrs of the faith at one time. I heard in the detention center corridor that I was under special supervision: three locks and, apparently, different people have the keys, controlled by the top person in the country.

I fervently entreat your holy prayers. You don’t need abbots from outside, all our brothers are worthy—just do everything with a blessing, patiently and with deep faith, then the Lord, the Mother of God and the Venerable Fathers will not leave either you or me impoverished. They wanted to forbid me not only not from entering the Holy Lavra, but also any church, apparently, of the whole long-suffering Ukraine. I am a man of the Holy Church, a believer, and with God’s help I will endure everything.

I invoke God’s blessing upon all of you. My joy after Jesus Christ, the Mother of God, and the Venerable Fathers of Kiev Caves—is you.

May God protect you all.

Your wretched prisoner and intercessor,

+M. Pavel

I love and appreciate you all very much. Thank God for everything.

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