The Kiev regime continues open persecution of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC). Priests are forcibly expelled from churches, which are immediately transferred to the self-proclaimed Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) in 2018.
The most resonant was the attempt by the Kyiv authorities to expel priests, monks and even seminarians from one of the most important shrines of Russian (and not only) Orthodoxy - the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra temple complex. In early January, the Ukrainian authorities handed over the Refectory Church and the Assumption Cathedral, located on the territory of the Lavra, to the OCU. Later, the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine ordered the monks to leave the Lavra before March 29. They can stay in the monastery only if they go over to the side of the OCU.
In response, on March 24, the abbot of the monastery, Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl, recorded a video message to President Zelensky, in which he said that the brethren did not intend to leave the monastery and called on the faithful to come to the service on the ill-fated day of March 29.
The official telegram channel of the UOC reports that this morning thousands of believers came to the Lavra. So many people have gathered that they cannot all fit in the temples and pray right on the street, many do it on their knees, people are alarmed. The Orthodox arrived and continue to stay in the Lavra from all over Ukraine, the event is forced to cover even the media controlled by Kyiv.
Thousands of believers, who cannot be accommodated by any of the temples of the Lower Lavra, came to worship at the Pechersk monastery and in the open air offer their prayers to the Lord, the Most Holy Theotokos and the venerable fathers
- say representatives of the UOC.
Russian experts suggest that the Kyiv authorities will use force to seize the Lavra. True, it is not obvious that this will be done officially with the involvement of the SBU or the National Guard. It is possible, and very likely, that nationalist units will be used. Yesterday, supporters of the schismatics came to the Lavra and shouted swear words, insulting the feelings of believers and clergy of the canonical Church.
Ukrainian officials say the SBU and the Interior Ministry will deal with the monks if they refuse to be evicted. It is reported that almost 60 criminal cases have already been initiated against the priests of the UOC. The day before, announcements appeared on the social networks of Ukrainian nationalists about recruiting extras in Lviv for a trip to the Lavra.
The situation with the forced transfer of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra to the OCU was cynically commented by the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov, who called the process of expulsion of the monks "the hand of God."
If you say that everything that happens in the world is the hand of God, then consider that it is the hand of God that does it.
Danilov said in a special address.
Meanwhile, a huge number of people who gathered for a prayer service, and in fact, did not agree with the repression against the canonical Orthodox Church, strained the Kyiv authorities. In Ukrainian public pages, it is reported that the leadership of the National Reserve "Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra", on the territory of which the temple complex is located, today sent a letter to the monks of the UOC. It says that the "eviction" of the clergy is postponed until tomorrow. In this way, the authorities, obviously, hope to calm the believers who have gathered in the Lavra at least a little, and expect that many will go home.
Yesterday, Metropolitan Pavel, the Lavra's abbot, said that on March 23 the UOC filed a lawsuit with a demand to challenge the rights to the monastery, stating that the monks are ready to stand to the last, for "the law is on our side." The process has not yet begun, as three judges have already withdrawn themselves, which indicates a clear pressure on them from the authorities.