April 19, 2024

Ukraine Plans to Evict UOC Monks from Lavra Caves: Ukrainians Gathered in Prayer Outside of the Lavra Caves as Met. Pavel Vows that the Monks “Will Defend Our Shrines to the Last.” President Zelensky Cheers the Eviction as “Strengthening Ukrainian Spiritual Independence”

Ukraine continues to persecute the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as the regime plans to evict UOC monks from the Lavra Caves on March 29, 2023.

The Ukrainian government announced plans to evict Ukrainian Orthodox Church monks from the Lavra Caves by the end of March 2023.

https://spzh.news/en/news/72289-uoc-being-expelled-from-kyiv-pechersk-lavra
https://spzh.news/en/news/72289-uoc-being-expelled-from-kyiv-pechersk-lavra
https://spzh.news/en/news/72289-uoc-being-expelled-from-kyiv-pechersk-lavra

There are around 200 UOC monks in the lower levels of the Lavra Caves. The Lavra Caves are a Christian Holy Site. Within Orthodoxy, The Theotokos is said to live in the Lavra Caves. Additionally, Kiev/Kyiv is one of the four domains of The Theotokos.

In response to the proposed eviction of the UOC monks, Zelensky characterized the removal of the UOC monks as “strengthening Ukrainian spiritual independence.”

Met. Pavel of the Lavra Caves announced that the monks would “defend our shrines to the last,” while Orthodox Christians in Ukraine gathered around the Lavra Caves to pray:

Met. Pavel vows that UOC monks will defend the shrines to the last
Video of Zelensky’s support of UOC eviction and Orthodox Christians praying outside of the Lavra Caves on March. 12, 2023

Ukraine’s persecution of the UOC is hardly new, with Ukraine’s SBU raiding and searching UOC parishes, temples, and clergy throughout the last year. Zelensky announced plans to ban the UOC in Ukraine three months ago:

A UOC Metropolitan responded to Zelensky’s announcement by claiming Zelensky was declaring war against God by attempting to ban the UOC:

UOC Met. Luke of Zaporozhye responded to Ukraine’s plans to remove UOC monks from the Lavra Caves by mentioning the disastrous The Kurenivka mudslide in 1961. The mudslide occurred three days after the USSR announced the closure of the Lavra Caves.

https://spzh.news/en/news/72316-uoc-bishop-the-scale-of-khruschev-persecution-is-not-comparable-to-nowadays
https://spzh.news/en/news/72316-uoc-bishop-the-scale-of-khruschev-persecution-is-not-comparable-to-nowadays

Spiritual War

On March 12, 2023, faithful Ukrainian Christians gathered outside of the Lavra Caves for liturgy and prayer:

And on March 13, 2023, UOC Met. Pavel confirmed that crosses at the Refectory Church at the Lavra Caves were turning black, while a “substance resembling myrrh appeared on the crucifix placed at the grave of Met. Volodymyr:”

https://spzh.news/en/news/72357-crosses-turn-black-at-the-kyiv-pechersk-lavra-refectory-church
https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid0Js5okkduFHswHXsjYmjHZDTYXTxU8WkcvBq8gu6GqbgHS21C2VXmkua9A9b5RTEsl&id=100064303196909&_rdr

The UOC monks at the Lavra Caves released a video statement, begging the Ukraine government and President Zelensky to stop the persecution of the Church. The monks stated they are not afraid and will protect their shrines:

UOC monks released a portion of the above video in English asking for prayers, and spiritual support, and asking the global citizens for support:

Monks from Synod of the Lavra Caves attempted to meet with Zelensky’s office on March 20, 2023 and were turned away after waiting for roughly four hours.

https://youtu.be/lj2AmBP177k

Met. Luke reported that the monks who attempted to meet with state authorities at Zelensky’s office were spit on and insulted by fellow Ukrainians:

An Abbess from the UOC Odessa Diocese condemned the unconstitutional persecution of the UOC and called upon believers to protect the Church and the laurels from sacrilege:

“The authorities do not have the authority to interfere with religious or church life or give preferences to some denominations, and despise others. This is a violation of the constitution and the rights of millions of Ukrainian believers.

“Opening a religious war in the midst of sorrow among one’s fellow citizens is an unacceptable and criminal phenomenon. This indulges the enemy’s propaganda and weakens the city of the people and defense capacity.

Dear compatriots: let’s protect our homeland, protect the holy church, protect the laurel, and prevent sacrilege against it. Because this can invite the wrath of God.”

https://youtu.be/kS_zZ76FQkU

And on March 21, 2023, the Kyiv Theological Academy at the Lavra Caves released a plea for the authorities to stop the eviction:

https://youtu.be/GIWEWYvw098

Ukrainian Christians continue to pray at and outside the Lavra Caves:

https://twitter.com/Dana35300026/status/1638635095316746240?t=NC3SWaAt3V5zrcVZde2L9w&s=19

The Kyiv Theological Academy continues to host services and processions:

A priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was allegedly stopped by armed soldiers and/or law enforcement because a priest or Abbott released a video statement condemning the eviction of monks from the Lavra Caves:

https://twitter.com/Dana35300026/status/1638639396525166592?t=pGbgOEjhH5L7A4eqwguImg&s=19

UOC Met. Pavel released a statement on March 22, 2023, calling upon people to pray and witness the godlessness of the treatment of the UOC and the eviction of monks from the Lavra Caves:

UOC Met. Pavel released a statement on March 22, 2023, calling upon people to pray and witness the godlessness of the treatment of the UOC and the eviction of monks from the Lavra Caves:

https://youtu.be/5k-P5UU-4pQ

The abbess and sisters of the famous American Transfiguration Convent in Ellwood City (Pennsylvania), which is under the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church in America, came to the defense of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra and the students of Kyiv theological schools:

A message from Father Josiah Trenham (of PatristicFaith.org) on the Persecution in Ukraine:

The Kyiv Theological Academy and Seminary released a statement on March 24, 2023:

ROCOR clergy and the Eastern Diocese have released statements condemning the persecution of the UOC:

https://www.eadiocese.org/news_230323_2
https://eadiocese.org/news_230323_2

https://www.holycross.org/blogs/news/rocor-primate-remain-prayerful-in-solidarity-with-suffering-ukrainian-brethren

Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe condemned the persecution of the UOC and called upon all the children of God to pray for Ukraine and the UOC:

https://www.synod.com/synod/engdocuments/enart_protserafimgankpl.html

Church Seizures

Radical groups and schismatics have attacked UOC parishes with the intent to capture the churches forcibly.

Armed police invaded a UOC parish in Babin village on March 22, 2023:

https://youtu.be/RdtyoI7kFNQ


At the beginning of February 2023, radicals attempted to seize the UOC Church of the Intercession in Strelsk, Ukraine:

Schismatics attempted to seize UOC parish in Tarasovka near Kyiv in February 2023:

Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Belohorod was allegedly captured by radicals and schismatics last month:


Radicals have also sought to disrupt UOC services, with nationalists groups attempting to compel a UOC parish to sing the Ukrainian national anthem:

Metropolitan Morphou warned about the spiritual causes of the war in Ukraine, stating that God is allowing war due to mankind embracing enmity and sexual immorality:

A short documentary about Ukraine’s war against the Orthodox Church (which YouTube flagged as violating their terms of service):