“You have left an indelible mark in our hearts”—Kiev Caves Lavra brotherhood to their persecuted abbot

Kiev, July 20, 2023


The brethren of the Kiev Caves Lavra eagerly look forward to the speedy return of their persecuted abbot to his monastery.

His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl is a spiritual man of simplicity and prayer, who has always shown great care for the monastery and all the Ukrainian people, the brotherhood testifies in an address to their abbot, who is currently being held in a pre-trial detention center, published yesterday on the Lavra website.

The abbot had penned his own address to the brethren on Monday.

The brotherhood writes to Met. Pavel:

Your Eminence, dear Vladyka and Father!

Bless us in these sorrowful days to express to you words of sincere support and deep filial gratitude. For almost thirty years you have been running the Holy Kiev Caves Monastery, and every monk, from the elder brethren to a simple novice, can testify to a simple truth before the Lord—the Vicar of the Holy Kiev Lavra is a true pastor and a zealous servant of the Church. The experience of personal communication with you has left an indelible mark in the heart of each of us. Simplicity in communication and sincere care, mercy and forbearance, a necessary measure of paternal severity, coupled with the ability to forgive—this is what we all found in you. We are grateful to you for your spiritual care and prayer, which has always been accepted by the Lord, of which the monks of the Lavra and many of your spiritual children have repeatedly been assured. In order to understand what a diligent and caring abbot you are, it is not even necessary to know you personally—it is enough just to come to the Holy Kiev Caves Lavra and see everything with your own eyes. The work of your hands is in every particle of our monastery, which YOU revived and beautified with such love and sacrifice.

Today our Church and our long-suffering Ukrainian people are going through difficult times. A terrible war has covered our land with a black cloud. In addition to this misfortune, we see the aggravation of internal conflicts associated with long-standing problems in the religious life of our country. These problems did not arise yesterday. These multifarious problems have been going on for many years, but their causes certainly have nothing to do with the life and activities of the Kiev Caves Lavra and its inhabitants, whose only life task is to pray for the whole world and humbly work for the benefit of our people. Therefore, it is doubly insulting to us and it is completely incomprehensible why all the claims and unfair accusations are addressed to us. Why is our abbot, who has always been a faithful son of his people, a diligent worker in the field of Christ, unfairly accused of all mortal sins and crimes? We leave it to God’s Judgment and believe in His all-powerful help and mercy.

Dear Vladyka! You have always taught us, in any sorrowful circumstances, to place all our trust in the Lord, His Most Pure Mother and our holy intercessors, the Venerable Fathers of the Kiev Caves. May the Lord strengthen you. Today not only our whole Church is looking to you, but the whole world is looking to you. We ask for your holy prayers and look forward to your speedy return to your beloved monastery. We believe in the triumph of justice and the truth of God!

With filial love, the brethren of the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra

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 state has blocked most attempts to raise funds towards his bail, whether online or in person at church.

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