Kiev, August 22, 2023
Ukrainian authorities closed the Lower Lavra to all visitors more than a week ago. Now, only monks and monastery employees who are on a special list are granted access.
Some monks cannot leave the territory of the Lavra because they won’t be allowed back in.
Moreover, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine himself is not permitted to enter the Lower Lavra, His Eminence Metropolitan Kliment of Nezhin, head of the Synodal Information-Education Department, told Strana.
According to the Metropolitan, only monastic clergy were included on the list drawn up by the National Preserve, according to which the police permit or forbid people from entering the monastery. The seminarians who study on the territory of the Lavra and other monastics are not on the list. Thus, if they leave the monastery, they won’t be allowed back in.
“They haven’t explained to us which law they are basing this on,” commented Met. Kliment.
“Also, access to the territory of the Lavra is prohibited to the primate of the UOC, Metropolitan Onuphry, and the Chancellor of the UOC, Metropolitan Anthony,” explained Met. Kliment.
His Beatitude is thus forbidden from entering his own residence on the territory of the monastery. Recall that last week, Fr. Avraamy, the one monk of the Lavra who apostatized from the Church for the promise of the abbacy over the schismatics’ “Kiev Caves Lavra,” was given the keys to and was filmed entering the Met. Onuphry’s residence.
Met. Kliment also noted that despite the fact that the Kiev Caves Lavra National Preserve has been declaring the termination of the lease with the UOC for six months, all utility bills are still paid by the Church.
He also revealed that police have blocked access to food storage rooms on the territory of the monastery.
Only the Churches of St. Agapit of the Kiev Caves and St. Sergius of Radonezh remain open to visitors, and thus to Met. Onuphry himself.