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Orthodox monastery leader in Kiev placed under house arrest by authorities

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The abbot of Ukraine’s world-famous Caves Monastery in Kiev on Saturday was placed under house arrest for two months amid a standoff with the country’s government.

Metropolitan Pavel is suspected of fueling religious strife and justifying an all-out Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to local media reports from the courtroom.

The court ordered him to wear an electronic card and he was banned from contacting members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Pavel denied the accusations and described the actions as politically motivated.

The issue concerns the use of the Cave Monastery complex and, more broadly, the position of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

For now, Pavel must leave the monastery. He spends his time under house arrest at the address he is registered with, which is not on the monastery grounds.

Earlier in the day, the police searched the house of the head of the church on the site.

“They told me in two words that I was suspected of working for Russia,” Pavel said in a video released by the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Pavel said he was summoned for interrogation on charges of religious agitation and insulting the Ukrainian president.

The dispute over the use of Deir al-Kahf has been going on for months. The Ukrainian leadership suspects the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which runs the monastery, of espionage and incitement for Moscow.

Before the Russian invasion, the Church sided with the Moscow Patriarchate. Although she separated after the war began, she is accused by the Ukrainian government of continuing to cooperate.

In 2018, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia has already led to the creation of an Orthodox Church in Ukraine, independent of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Meanwhile, Kiev withdrew the right of the original Ukrainian Orthodox Church to use the Cave Monastery. The monks living there were supposed to leave on March 29, but they refused to leave. So the government in Kyiv applied for an eviction order with the court.

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