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Russian Patriarch Slams Onslaught on Kiev-Pechersk Lavra by Zelensky Regime

© Sputnik / StringerA general view shows the Uspensky Cathedral of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra monastery in Kiev
A general view shows the Uspensky Cathedral of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra monastery in Kiev - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.03.2023
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus' said that the closure of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, one of Orthodox Christianity's most sacred sites, by the Ukrainian authorities would violate the rights of millions of Ukrainian believers.
Last week, the National Kiev-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Preserve ordered the monks based in the monastery to leave it by March 29 after an interdepartmental Ukrainian commission accused the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) of violating the terms of an agreement on the use of state property. In light of these events, Patriarch Kirill addressed religious leaders and international figures with a message about the situation around the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra and called the decision by Ukrainian officials to expel the UOC monks repressive.
"I call for every effort to be made to prevent the forced closure of the monastery, which will lead to the violation of the religious freedom rights of millions of Ukrainian believers, guaranteed by Ukraine’s constitution, as well as such documents as the United Nations charter and many other acts of international significance," the patriarch said in a video address, seen by Sputnik.
A lamp containing the Holy Fire delivered from Jerusalem to the Holy Resurrection Church near the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. File photo. - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.03.2023
Constantinople Patriarchate ‘Invaded’ UOC Territory Without Its Approval, ROCOR Says
The Kiev-Pechersk Lavra is in official free possession of the UOC. After the start of Russia's special military operation in February last year, Ukrainian nationalists launched regular attacks against churches, clergy and believers of the UOC. In May, the synod of the schismatic Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) announced the creation of a religious organization to which it wanted to transfer one of the Lavra's churches, prompting illegal seizure concerns at the Moscow Patriarchate.
The Ukrainian authorities also submitted to the country's parliament a bill to ban the UOC in Ukraine, seize its real estate and other property.
The OCU was established on the basis of two schismatic organizations in late 2018. In 2019, the Patriarchate of Constantinople gave the OCU a "tomos of autocephaly" — an ecclesiastical document essentially granting recognition — which resulted in a serious conflict between Constantinople and Moscow. In particular, the Moscow Patriarchate and the UOC broke off Holy Communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople in protest at its actions.
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