Human rights investigation into state abuse at Kiev Caves Lavra begins

Kiev, September 4, 2023     

The Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights has opened a proceeding concerning a number of serious violations of the rights of monks of the Kiev Caves Lavra and faithful of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The proceeding comes in response to a request from Archpriest Nikita Chekman, the monastery’s lawyer, after the Human Rights Commissioner paid a visit to the monastery.

On Friday, September 1, Mykhailo Serhiovich Spasov, the Representative for Equal Rights and Freedoms, Rights of National Minorities, and Political and Religious Views of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights arrived at the monastery, in particular visiting monks and pilgrims who have been locked inside for several weeks now, reports the Information-Education Department of the UOC.

One monk, Fr. Varnava spoke with Spasov about how several people have been locked inside one of the guest houses for four weeks now since the state commission in charge of the Lavra closed the Lower Lavra territory. Representatives of the authorities even prevent food from being passed to those locked inside the building.

The monk also emphasized that he is not able to get the necessary medicine for his high blood sugar.

One of the pilgrims also spoke about how his family has deep roots in Kiev, with many generations going to the Lavra to pray. He called what is happening at the monastery now a “trauma.”

Following the visit, Fr. Chekman was informed by a representative of the Parliamentarian Commission for Human Rights that a proceeding had been formally opened in or der to investigate further.

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