Kremenets, Ternopil Province, Ukraine, September 5, 2023
Police surrounded the Holy Theophany Convent in the Western Ukrainian Ternopil Province yesterday morning, just days after the sisters had warned that the authorities might try to close their monastery.
On Saturday, September 2, the Telegram channel Monastery Herald of Ukraine reported:
The Theophany Convent in Kremenets asks to prayerfully support the sisters on Monday, September 4, 2023, due to the threat of the illegal closure of the monastery.
Yesterday morning, the same outlet reported about the attempted eviction of the nuns:
The Holy Theophany Convent of the Ternopil Diocese of the UOC has been using the complex of buildings of the Theophany Monastery for the last 32 years. For its part, the monastery has done everything possible to continue using state property legally (either on the right of gratuitous use or on the right of lease). However, the state did not take the necessary and dependent actions. And today, on 09.04.2023, in the morning, law enforcement agencies surrounded the monastery in order to close it and evict the nuns. People are allowed to enter the holy site only upon presentation of a passport. The police are awaiting further instructions from the authorities.
The Information-Education Department of the UOC further reports that only those who are registered at a local address are allowed to enter the monastery.
The UOC notes that the monastery last signed a lease with the state in 2018, good for five years. Abbess Demetria sent an official request for the extension of the contract but received no answer. The monastery has been using the buildings for the past 32 years.
Video published by the UOC showed several dozen police officers and several police vehicles outside the monastery.
The Holy Theophany Monastery in Kremenets was founded as a male monastery in the first half of the 17th century. In 1725, it was taken over by Uniate Greek Catholics and did not return to Orthodoxy until 1839. In 1953, the monastery was transformed into a convent, and by 1959, there were 67 sisters living there. On July 29-30, 1959, the monastery was closed and the church was used as a gym, while the monastic residential building housed a hospital.
The rebirth of the monastery began on August 26, 1990, when the Sorrowing Icon of the Mother of God, kept in the monastery before the revolution and moved to the Pochaev Lavra after its closing, was carried in procession back to its former place. Nuns returned to the monastery in 1991.