Kiev Theological Schools forced to leave the Kiev Caves Lavra

Kiev, August 25, 2023     

The Kiev Theological Seminary and Academy have been forced to leave the Kiev Caves Lavra, which has been their home for centuries.

The Ukrainian government recently closed the Lower Lavra, where the schools are located and where its students live, granting access to only a select few. Thus, if students were to leave the territory of the Lavra for any reason, they would not be allowed back in.

Even His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev, the primate of all Orthodox Christians in Ukraine, is banned from entering the territory of the Lower Lavra, where he has a residence.

Given this situation, the school has been forced to move to the Goloseevsky Monastery, also in Kiev, reports Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, the Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s Department for External Church Relations.     

While lamenting the move, Fr. Nikolai also encouraged the students:

The Kiev Theological Academy and Seminary are moving from the Lavra to Goloseevsky Monastery. On the one hand, it’s a pity, because much in our lives is connected with the Lavra, and on the other hand, this is often the path of Christians.

But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another (Mt. 10:23).

And don’t worry too much, but continue to work and dynamically develop your Christian and Church life in a new place.

It's not the walls or the rooms that matter; it's the people who matter. Christianity emerged as a community, as a community of people, without walls and outside walls. And it seems to me that the Lord periodically reminds us of this in history when He allows some external forces to destroy churches, or seize them, or expel Christians from them. Christianity did not arise in a church—we must not forget this. Although it is connected with churches and creates its own churches, but it doesn’t depend on them. Because it can create more, and anywhere. Because it is higher than the church building.

A seminarian told the Union of Orthodox Journalists that a building for living and studying and an Academy church have already been allocated at Goloseevsky Monastery. The move should be completed by September 9.

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