Ukrainian Court Places Kiev-Pechersk Lavra Vicegerent Under House Arrest For 2 Months
15:35 GMT 01.04.2023 (Updated: 17:49 GMT 01.04.2023)
© SputnikVicegerent of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra Metropolitan Bishop Pavel
The vicegerent of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra had been hospitalized after falling ill during a court hearing earlier in the day. The spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church, Vladimir Legoyda, condemned the house arrest, saying it had been issued under false accusations and represented yet another example of lawlessness in Ukraine.
A Ukrainian court has placed vicegerent of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra Metropolitan Bishop Pavel under house arrest for two months, banning him from interacting with believers. The vicegerent will be forced to wear an ankle bracelet.
Prosecutors claim that, starting from February 24, 2022, being the vicegerent of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan Pavel "decided to justify the aggression of the Russian Federation" by communicating with the parishioners of the monastery."
Earlier in the day, the court decided to forcefully deliver Metropolitan Bishop Pavel to the hearing on Saturday, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) stated.
"After announcing a break until Monday, the court rescheduled the court session... The session will take place [on Saturday] at 18.30," the UOC said in a message on the Telegram channel.
Metropolitan Bishop Pavel was hospitalized after becoming ill during a court session. Given his condition, the court had decided to postpone the session to Monday, April 3 - before it changed its mind.
On Saturday morning, the vicegerent said that he had been placed under house arrest and summoned for interrogation by the Ukrainian authorities over alleged collaboration with Russia and incitement of inter-religious hatred for criticizing the schismatic Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU).
"The placement of Metropolitan Pavel under house arrest on far-fetched accusations is, alas, a natural continuation of the lawlessness being exercised today by the Ukrainian authorities. Such is the 'dialogue' with representatives of the largest Christian denomination in Ukraine," the spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church, Vladimir Legoyda, said on Saturday.
The conflict around the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, where the monks of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) are based, escalated after the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture terminated the lease agreement unilaterally, accusing the monks of violating the terms of the deal, and ordered them to leave the Lavra by March 29. Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko said the monks could stay if they joined the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Metropolitan Bishop Pavel, in turn, said that no compromise was possible.
The Russian Orthodox Church says the UOC is a "self-governing church with the rights of broad autonomy" within the Moscow Patriarchate. 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.