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Metropolitan Pressures UBC to Release Lavra Defender Detained by Police

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Moscow, April 20 – The abbot of the Ascension Banchensky Monastery of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), Metropolitan Longin (Zhar), called on the Ukrainian authorities to release human rights activist Victoria Kokhanovskaya, who was being held at the walls of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.
The Telegraph channel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) reported that Kokhanovskaya was arrested the day before during a live broadcast near the walls of the monastery.
“Release, please, Victoria Kokhanovskaya!” Metropolitan Longin wrote on his page in social networks.

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The confrontation between supporters of the University of British Columbia and the schismatic structure “OCU” near the walls of the Lavra has been going on since the end of March. A new round of conflict over the Lavra began with the UOC notifying the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine about the unilateral termination of the lease of the monastery, since the monks were asked to leave the Lavra on March 29. As explained by the Minister of Culture Oleksandr Tkachenko, the monks can stay in the Lavra, provided they transfer to the dissident Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The Reserve Committee was supposed to start accepting the objects of the Lavra on March 30th. The UOC stated that the commission does not have the authority to start work, because there is no court decision. The vicar of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan Pavel (Lebed), said that there can be no concessions in the Lavra, the brethren will stand to the end. According to him, unilateral termination of the lease of the Lavra premises is impossible, a court decision is needed, and a lawsuit on the inadmissibility of termination of the lease was filed with the Kiev Economic Court.
Over the past year, Ukrainian authorities have staged the largest wave of persecution of UBC in the country’s recent history. Referring to its connection with Russia, local authorities in various regions of Ukraine decided to ban the activities of the UOC, and a bill on the actual ban in Ukraine was submitted to the country’s parliament. The authorities imposed sanctions on some representatives of the clergy at the University of Oklahoma. The Security Service of Ukraine began to open criminal cases against the clergy of the University of British Columbia, to conduct “counter-intelligence activities” – searches of bishops and priests, in churches and monasteries, in search of evidence of “anti-Ukrainian activities”.

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