Kiev seeks to boot UOC believers out of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra — Patriarch Kirill

  MOSCOW:  Ukrainian authorities are trying to forcibly remove the clergy and laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) from the Kiev-Pec...


MOSCOW:  Ukrainian authorities are trying to forcibly remove the clergy and laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) from the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, and the masterminds of this terrible act, along with those who have condoned this persecution, will forever shoulder responsibility for the suffering of innocent believers, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said in a statement on Friday, commenting on the attempts to throw believers out of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.

"The Ukrainian authorities have mounted a violent campaign aimed at completely evicting the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. Violence is being used, including against peaceful citizens who came up to the walls of the monastery to defend their right to worship in the shrine so dear to their hearts," the head of the Russian Orthodox Church said.

"While praying for all victims of religious persecution in Ukraine, we are convinced that responsibility for the suffering of the innocent believers who have turned into outsiders in their own country will eternally lie on the shoulders of those who masterminded this terror or condoned the persecution," his statement said.

The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church recalled that the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, the oldest monastery of Russian Orthodoxy, had already witnessed the persecution of Christians during Soviet times, when the Lavra was closed twice - in the 1920s and in the 1960s. In the first case, some of the brethren were shot dead and many more were either jailed or exiled, while the Lavra was left devastated. Over the past 30 years, the monastery has been reconstructed and beautified again by the labors of numerous believers from various countries.

According to Patriarch Kirill, those who are currently trying to get rid of the Lavra as a religious center for millions of Orthodox Christians mold themselves into successors of those fighting against God in the 20th century.

"Before our eyes, acts of terror against believers are being carried out unpunished and shamelessly. The Church, which unites several tens of millions of believers, has been declared an enemy of the state," the statement said.

The Russian Orthodox Church, alongside the other local Orthodox Churches, has repeatedly urged international organizations to stop the persecution of Ukrainian Orthodox Christians, Patriarch Kirill stated.

"Nevertheless, as the response of the international community indicates, the right of Ukrainian citizens to freely practice their faith is not appealing to many of those who in public speak out about their commitment to human rights," he added.

Ukraine is on a crusade to totally ban the UOC, and a corresponding bill was drawn up by the government on instruction from Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and submitted to parliament. Treason charges are being levied against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church clergy, sanctions are being slapped on them, and 13 archbishops have been stripped of Ukrainian citizenship. Raiders from the schismatic Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) have ramped up seizures of church buildings and have held meetings to take over religious communities. Local authorities deprive the UOC of the right to lease the land where its churches sit.

On June 9, Archpriest Nikita Chekman, a lawyer for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, said that more than 100 communities of the canonical UOC had been illegally transferred to the jurisdiction of the schismatic OCU. The authorities terminated the lease agreement with the UOC for the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra and demand that the monks leave the monastery.

-News Feed




Local Glob: Kiev seeks to boot UOC believers out of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra — Patriarch Kirill
Kiev seeks to boot UOC believers out of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra — Patriarch Kirill
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