Met. Pavel to the President: Don't let us be expelled from the Upper Lavra!
Metropolitan Pavel appealed to the President of Ukraine in view of the termination of the lease agreement for the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra Reserve with the UOC.
Metropolitan Pavel (Lebed), the Abbot of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, addressed the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky also due to the fact that the monks and inhabitants of the monastery were deprived of the right to worship in the Refectory and Assumption Cathedrals from January 1, 2022.
“Today we were informed that the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra Monastery of the UOC can no longer serve in the temples of the upper territory – the Assumption Cathedral and the Refectory Church on the territory of the Reserve. For 30 years, being the abbot of the monastery, I have been constantly here, and together with me 220 brethren, who incessantly pray for our country, for our army. And we don’t just pray – we are always at work, trying to help all those in need, all those who ask us for prayerful intercession and help in earthly life,” Vladyka said.
The Lavra’s monks can perform their last divine service on the eve of the New Year, December 31, 2022. The director of the reserve informed them about this.
“Already on January 1, we do not have the right to cross the thresholds of the Refectory and Assumption Cathedrals. No one notified us in writing at least a month in advance, we have long-term lease agreements in our hands, we served every day before the war, because the temples require maintenance, they require someone to watch the painting, check the temperature – someone has to do it," the bishop notes.
Metropolitan Pavel recalled that in 1917 the brethren of the Lavra had already experienced the same: the seizure of churches, the desecration of shrines, the arrest and murder of monks. And even after the independence of Ukraine, the Church remained persecuted – schismatics, led by Filaret Denisenko, seized churches. In 2019, the Church in Ukraine split again and now the OCU members under the leadership of Dumeko are seizing the shrines, claiming what never belonged to them.
“I know every stone here, every piece of land, because we created everything here with our own hands, with the help of donations of believers,” the abbot noted, adding that the state, although it allocated funds for the restoration of the Lavra, took everything back in the form of taxes, leaving only “crumbs”.
His Eminence offered the President to compare the photo of the monastery in 1988 with what the premises of the lower Lavra, transferred to the UOC, look like now.
“We cannot allow the buildings that were built by our ancestors, holy people, to be destroyed,” the hierarch said.
His Eminence invited the President to come and see for himself, with his own eyes, how many believers come to worship on Sundays or holidays.
“Yesterday, the Refectory, Assumption, Cross Exaltation, St. Agapit, the Conception of the Righteous Anna and Joy to All in Sorrow temples were overflowing – there’s hardly spare room for people!” the Metropolitan pointed.
“We know you as a just person, but next to you there are people who act unworthily: they take away shrines, cause strife, hang locks on temples. They put themselves in the place of Herod, who killed babies, in the place of Nero, who killed thousands of Christians. <...> And today these people are destroying the faith in order to sow atheism, untruth, change people's views on life and tear them away from the true root – the Church of Christ. We turn to you as a guarantor and ask you to let people pray. It is enough for us when the enemy strikes, it is enough for us when people sit without light. Do you want to take away their faith as well? Do you want to take away their last hope? Don’t do this,” the hierarch urged.
Vladyka asked Volodymyr Zelensky to issue worthy decrees that would allow the UOC to exist in peace and pray for the country.
“I hope that you will listen to my appeal, because this is the pain of my Church, my brethren, my monastery and my people,” added the abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.
Recall that Metropolitan Pavel warned the faithful that they might not be allowed into the Assumption and Refectory churches of the Lavra.