30 November 2018

Today, at 8 a.m., the Security Service of Ukraine and the prosecutor's office, supported by special police forces, began searches in an out-of-town household of Holy Dormition Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. Pressure is being put on the vicar of Lavra, Metropolitan Pavel. Investigative activities are carried out into a completely void and obviously fabricated case. Moreover, His Grace Pavel is not the only one who is being persecuted. In recent weeks, we have witnessed unprecedented pressure from law enforcement officers on representatives of the hierarchy and priesthood of our Mother Church — for the sole purpose of committing treason and moving from the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the single local Ukrainian Orthodox Church (SLUOC) newly created by Poroshenko’s administration. “Conversations” are under way, criminal cases are opened. I am sure that all these cases will fall apart completely at the pre-trial stage, as well as hundreds, if not thousands, of other cases fabricated by the authorities against unwanted people and people opposing the authorities.

However, those in power are not confined to such personal attacks. In parallel, the inventory of the property of the Holy Dormition Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, dubious from the legal viewpoint, has been made for several days at the request of the Ministry of Culture. They are making inventory of everything, down to the relics of the saints.

The day before yesterday, at its meeting, the Government of Ukraine made a decision unprecedented by the degree of its lawlessness — to take away from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Brotherhood of the Pochaev Holy Dormition Lavra a complex of temple buildings and structures — the Trinity and Assumption Cathedrals, monastic cells, the Bishop’s house, the bell tower and the gatehouse. That is, almost the entire Lavra. The Cabinet of Ministers refers to a similar illegal decision of the Ministry of Justice passed a week earlier, on 23 November, cancelling unilaterally the re-registration of the right of the UOC to use the complex of buildings of the Holy Dormition Pochayiv Lavra due to the alleged errors of the previous registrar.

It becomes clear that the conceived and, fortunately, only partially imposed martial law can have, as one of its goals, a smooth seizure of temples and property of the UOC, up to the seizure of Pochaev and Pechersk Lavras. After all, the martial law, in the opinion of its initiators, would make it easy to deal with any attempts by parishioners to protect their temples and Lavras. God be thanked, Poroshenko’s plan has almost failed. Although, there still remains threat in those territories where the martial law was imposed for thirty days.

As for the “Poroshenko’s onset”, I reiterate that Lavras, monasteries and temples belonged, belong and will belong to our Mother Church. After 1917, those godless men who temporarily took them away from Orthodox Christians and who registered them on their names, paid for it, having sunk into oblivion. The same fate awaits their ideological followers represented by Poroshenko and his entourage. Orthodox people of Ukraine – and there are tens of millions of us – will defend their shrines by all legal means, and will not allow to completely split Orthodoxy on our land in favour of Poroshenko’s political technologies.

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