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Rector Encourages the Devout to Safeguard the Sacred Shrines

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Moscow, April 22 – The head of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Onofry of Kiev and All Ukraine, called on believers, including the defenders of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, to pray, stand their ground and protect shrines, but not to succumb to provocations and treat others. Respectfully, he continues from his video message posted in the UOC’s Telegram channel.
“I appeal to all our believers not to succumb to provocations, so that they behave with dignity, and have the right to express their desires, but all this must be within the framework of state laws and spiritual culture, so that they do not act in the same way as they are treated rudely and dismissively,” Bishop Onofry said. Let them respect everyone, but stand their ground, pray to God and protect the shrines.
He urged believers to pray and ask God for “mercy for all of us”, as well as “so that the Lord will enlighten the people who raise their hands against the Church, take, and close churches and monasteries.”

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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”.
A new round of conflict over the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra began with the notification of the University of British Columbia of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine about the unilateral termination of the lease of the monastery, as the monks were asked to leave the monastery. 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 messages 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”.

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