Kiev court orders representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) to vacate the Eletsky Monastery in Chernigov

Chernigov, July 9, 2024

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On July 5, 2024, the Northern Appeal Commercial Court in Kyiv ruled that the management of the Chernigov diocese of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) does not have the right to remain on the premises of the Eletsky Monastery. This decision obligates the clergy to vacate the monastery, as reported by Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture and Information Policy, reports RIA News.

The court’s decision supports the lawsuit filed by the “Ancient Chernigov” National Architectural and Historical Reserve and overturns a previous ruling by the Chernigov Regional Commercial Court that favored the UOC's claim to maintain their presence based on a renewed lease agreement. The Ministry of Culture claims that the UOC has been using the monastery’s property illegally since September 15, 2021.

The Eletsky Monastery, a significant historical and architectural monument, includes the Dormition Cathedral, various cells, and the monastery walls with gates. The Ukrainian authorities have been intensifying their actions against the UOC, citing its connections to Russia, leading to legislative efforts to ban its activities nationwide and sanctioning some clergy members​.


The Eletsky Dormition Monastery was founded in the 11th century, around 1060, during the reign of Prince Sviatoslav Yaroslavich. According to legend, it was established following the miraculous appearance of an icon of the Dormition of the Theotokos on a spruce tree (yel), which gave the monastery its name (“Eletsky” deriving from the word yel—spruce tree). Until

Nearly destroyed by the Mongols in the 13th century, it was rebuilt and thrived during the 14th–16th centuries, when it was known especially for its essential role in the religious and cultural life of the region. It was a center for manuscript writing and religious education. It continued to thrive up till the atheist soviet period. It was returned for use to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in 1991, and maintained through the Church’s efforts. In 1992 it was re-established as a women’s monastery.

It draws many tourists because of its ancient, beautiful architecture, and also because of the network of ancient caves and catacombs located there. It could be concluded that the state desires to turn the complex completely into a tourist attraction subject to the Ministry of Culture.


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