Moscow, March 29 – Archbishop Michael of Prague, on behalf of his diocese, protested in an official appeal to pressure the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), according to the Department of Church Relations at the University of British Columbia.
In early March, the Directorate of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra Reserve announced the termination of the indefinite lease of the Holy Dormition Church of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra from UBC, and ordered the monks of the Canonical Church to leave the monastery before March 29. Ukrainian Minister of Culture Oleksandr Tkachenko said that the monks of the canonical UOC would be able to stay in the Lavra if they moved to the dissident OCU. On March 20, members of the UBC Synod, headed by Bishop Onofry, arrived at the office of the President of Ukraine to express their position, but he refused to accept them. On March 23, the Synod of the British Catholic University published an appeal to the highest hierarchs, clergy and parishioners of the Church with a call to protect its right to be in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.
“Terrible events are taking place in Ukraine. The Ukrainian authorities are going to crucify the Church of Christ … The believers and clergy of the Prague Orthodox Diocese look at this with anxiety and sorrow in their hearts … (Ukrainian authorities – ed.) launch a crusade against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has reached its climax With the expulsion of monks from the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra … The Orthodox Archdiocese of Prague prays and protests against the violation by the Ukrainian authorities of the rights of clergy and believers of the canonical Orthodox Church, ”the text of the Archbishop’s address posted on the website of the Department of Church Relations.
Earlier on Wednesday, Metropolitan Pavel (Lebed), abbot of the Lavra, said that the monks would not leave the monastery until the end of the trial with the keep.
The canonical persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church had by 2018 turned into a full-scale government crackdown, as the Ukrainian authorities, with the help of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, created the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) from dissident organisations, a rival of the UOC. Last year, the Ukrainian authorities organized the largest wave of persecutions of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the country’s modern 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. State sanctions were imposed on some representatives of the clergy of the University of British Columbia, and the SBU began opening criminal cases against the clergy of the University of Oklahoma, conducting searches in bishops and priests, in churches and monasteries, looking for evidence of “anti-Ukrainian activities”.
Earlier, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and the All-Russian called the authorities’ order for the monks to leave the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, which Orthodox Christians consider one of the earthly inheritances of the Mother of God, to be a “monstrous act.” He addressed the heads of the local Orthodox Churches, Pope Francis, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and other religious leaders and representatives of international organizations with letters calling on them to “make every effort” to prevent the expulsion of monks and congregations. Closing the monastery. Pope Francis also expressed concern about the situation with the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra and called on “parties involved in the war to respect religious sites”.
Earlier, the Kremlin said that the illegal actions of the Kiev regime, encroachment on the Church, once again show what Russia is fighting for and what it must stop. The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Russian Federation, Tatyana Moskalkova, appealed to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for help in preventing the lawlessness of the Ukrainian authorities in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. Russia’s deputy representative to the OSCE, Maksim Boyakevich, called it outrageous the OSCE’s lack of response to rights violations and discrimination against Orthodox Christians in Ukraine. And on the website of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, a petition appeared with a call not to expel the monks of the Oak Church from the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.
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