Abbot of Kiev Caves Lavra released after months of house arrest and detention

Kiev, August 7, 2023

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Finally, after months of being unjustly held under round-the-clock house arrest and then in a detention center, the abbot of the Kiev Caves Lavra has been released on bail.

According to the lawyer for His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl, Archpriest Nikita Chekman, about 1,000 people chipped in to pay His Eminence’s exorbitant bail of more than $900,000 (33,300,000 hryvnia), reports the Information-Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Met. Pavel has been the abbot of the Lavra for 30 years, overseeing the complete restoration of the holy monastery after the years of godless communism. As is the case with several other hierarchs, the authorities accuse Met. Pavel of inciting religious enmity and justifying the war, though they have yet to supply evidence.

His Eminence was originally sentenced to house arrest and forced to wear an electronic ankle bracelet back in April. The courts later extended his house arrest twice, and on July 14, a Kiev court that the hierarch be placed into custody in a pre-trial detention center, or pray the nearly $1 million bail.

The faithful immediately organized a fundraiser on behalf of the Metropolitan, and a collection began in the Lavra, but the authorities quickly shut these efforts down.

In the end, the UOC announced that donations could be sent by individuals in person at a bank. All donors then had to give the original bank receipt to the lawyer, Fr. Nikita Chekman, which effectively limited donros to those living in Kiev.

Nevertheless, the faithful rallied behind their hierarch and managed to raise the bail for Met. Pavel to be released.

“Today’s event is the common merit of the parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthdox Church, who proved that nothing is impossible,” Fr. Nikita said.

Met. Pavel tearfully thanked His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the Lavra brotherhood, human rights defenders, his relatives, and all the faithful for their support:

Thank you for your prayers, for your patience, for your love. Thank you to those who made a deposit. May the Lord send you good health and eternal salvation. The most important thing, dear brothers and sisters, is to keep faith, to remain faithful to God, the Church and our earthly homeland, which brought us up, which today gives us the opportunity to pray and survive these difficult times that have come to our land.

Unfortunately, on the same day that Met. Pavel was released, another hierarch of the canonical Church, His Eminence Metropolitan Jonathan of Tulchin, was unjustly sentenced to five years imprisonment.

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