Kiev, August 14, 2023
The situation surrounding the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra has further deteriorated since a Kiev court ruled last week to uphold the government’s decision to kick the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the monastery brotherhood out of their own monastery.
After the ruling, representatives of the Ministry of Culture and the administration of the Kiev Caves Lavra National Museum-Preserve began sealing up buildings on the territory of the monastery—some with people still inside. Pilgrims who were staying in the monastery’s guest houses have been locked up for three days already.
And what’s more, the police are not allowing anyone to bring the people food or water.
Several videos appeared online over the weekend showing monks and laity alike attempting to deliver food, but being prevented from doing so by the police on guard, reports the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
A monk even tried to throw bread onto the guest house balcony so the people would have something to eat.
“Such actions of the police, in fact, indicate that the organizers of the unlawful sealing up of Lavra buildings may be regarding starvation as one of the means of expelling Orthodox monks and believers from the buildings being unlawfully sealed up by the Preserve,” the UOC writes.
“The police are executing manifestly criminal orders and are directly torturing the people who live in the buildings. They do not allow passing food and water to the people! We are preparing relevant statements. The whole world should see it!” commented Archpriest Nikita Chekman, the monastery’s lawyer.
Asked if his conscience bothered him, one policeman replied:
Me? Absolutely not. Why should it torment me? What do I care about these people, who are they to me? It’s no pity, I don’t know these people. There’s an order that no one should come here, deliver anything, and I’m fulfilling it.
People locked up in the guest house celebrated the All-Night Vigil by watching a live broadcast from one of the Lavra churches:
And yesterday, the Orthodox faithful were again forced to commune through the bars of a locked gate (as occurred in April and other times since then), as the state has closed the Lower Lavra, not allowing access to the churches there, including the Life-Giving Spring Church.
Also yesterday, an unknown man entered the Church of St. Agapit of the Kiev Caves Lavra and blasphemously struck an icon of the Savior with a rock, shattering the glass case on the icon.
The attacker was stopped by the faithful and detained by the police.