OCU cleric makes a provocation at Pochaev Lavra

OCU supporters held their "prayer" near the central entrance to the monastery

The OCU activists from Brody city tried to enter the territory of Pochaev Lavra and conduct their service there. The brethren of the monastery prevented the provocation.

On May 3, 2019, on Friday of the Bright Week, the few supporters of the OCU, led by Stepan Shira, the rector of the Sts Peter and Paul chapel in the city of Brody, Lvov region, tried to enter the territory of the Holy Assumption Pochaev Lavra. He published a video of the provocation on his Facebook page.

The monastery’s brethren frustrated the provocation, not allowing the activists to the territory of the monastery.

After the intervention attempt ended up with a failure, supporters of the OCU, led by the “priest” and at the same time deputy of the Brody City Council from the “Civil Position” Stepan Shira, held a “prayer service” near the central entrance to the monastery so that believers who wanted to go to the monastery would have to bypass them.

A few days later, the incident became the object of attention of regional media that published fake information in the article “Moscow monks did not allow an ATO participant to enter the Pochaev monastery” and accused the Lavra’s brothers and guard of aggressive behavior which is completely refuted by the video itself.

The details of the incident were quoted by the newspaper according to the information provided by “pilgrim” of the OCU Lilia Kovalskaya in her post in the public chat “The church of Saint Apostles Peter and Paul in Brody”, where she claims that the monk of the monastery tried to chase away the activists with the words “this is our land”.

In reality, what follows from the video is that the monk tries to convince the supporters of the OCU to slightly move aside and not to interfere with the believers entering the Lavra: “I’m asking you politely – stand a little away from the main entrance. If you want to be in Europe.”

The case was widely discussed in social networks. In the commentary to the news repost in another public chat “Untypical Orthodox”, user Dmitry Yakovlev asks the question “what does the ATO’s participant have to do with that?” and adds that people who don’t belong to the world-recognized Church in the video cannot serve in the Lavra. They can go on a sightseeing tour as pilgrims but cannot serve in the Lavra”.

After this comment, the members of the Facebook group did not even try to refute the fake but for some reason decided that newly elected President Vladimir Zelensky should be involved in the incident: “Ze has conned you like dummies and will continue to pursue Poroshenko’s cause, which he has already evidenced more than once. And if he doesn't, we will make him do,” they wrote in the group.

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