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Kiev-Pechersk Lavra Vicegerent Fears Imminent Storming of Monastery

© Sputnik / StringerA general view shows the Kiev Pechersk Lavra monastery in Kiev, Ukraine.
A general view shows the Kiev Pechersk Lavra monastery in Kiev, Ukraine. - Sputnik International, 1920, 31.03.2023
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Metropolitan Bishop Pavel, vicegerent of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra in the Ukrainian capital, said on Friday he feared that an attack on the Eastern Orthodox cave monastery could take place as early as Friday evening.
"We have just learned of their plans … to launch a smash-and-grab attack on the Lavra. Our people have overheard these men talking on the phone as they plotted the attack," he said in a video address.
A dozen opponents of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) have gathered outside the Lavra where monks loyal to the UOC have been holed up for two days, in defiance of the government's order to vacate the monastery.
Ukrainian Orthodox Church parishioners and priests gather for service at the Kiev-Perchersk Lavra, one of the holiest shrines of Orthodoxy. - Sputnik International, 1920, 31.03.2023
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Ukraine’s National Kiev-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Preserve gave the monks until March 29 to leave the sprawling cave monastery after an interdepartmental Ukrainian commission accused the UOC of violating the terms of an agreement on the use of state property.
Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko said the monks could stay if they joined the schismatic Orthodox Church of Ukraine, a decision that may be "stimulated through the joint work of specialists and law enforcement officers."
Since the beginning of Russia's special military operation, the Ukrainian authorities have intensified their crackdown on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. In January, the Ukrainian government submitted a bill with the parliament to ban the activities of "Russia-affiliated" religious organizations in the country.
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