UOC hierarch about Lavra’s ill monks: Don’t be spiteful but pray for them
Vladyka is confident that after the coronavirus, people will again come to the Lavra in need of confession, communion, wedding, christening, and funeral services.
On April 15, 2020, the Head of the UOC Representation to European International Organizations, Vicar of the Kiev Metropolis, Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka shared his opinion about the monks of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra who had been infected with coronavirus. He wrote about this in his blog on the "I am a Correspondent” site.
According to the Bishop, “Lavra is not just a cultural item, historical heritage, an architectural monument or an object of archaeological study for our people. This is, first and foremost, a shrine.”
Bishop Victor believes that "not only our people and our culture were molded in the Lavra Caves but also a special type of holiness inherent in those ascetics who used to live and who live now in the former territories of Kievan Rus."
According to him, the peculiarity of this type of holiness is "in great, sacrificial and unconditional love for one's neighbor," and "ascetics of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra initially chose the path of serving God through serving the needs of their neighbors."
The hierarch is sure that “the Gospel of Christ and the monks of Lavra taught our people to share everything with those who are poor, to feel sorry for those who suffer, and to help those who are in plight.”
He emphasized that "no matter how the historical situation changes, no matter how the composition of the inhabitants in the Lavra changes, its saints will continue to have a huge impact on our people."
That is why, he believes, “today, when some of the monks of our Lavra fell ill, maybe we, modern Ukrainians, should remember what the reverend fathers of Kiev-Pechersk taught us.”
“Instead of gloating, we’d better all pray together and ask God to save the monks’s lives,” the Bishop writes.
Because then, he says, “when this painful affliction ends, after quarantine and coronavirus, we will come to the Lavra again in the need of confession, communion, wedding, christening, funeral service ... And the monks who are now vilified and whom some of us even wish death – they will listen to our confession, give us the Holy Gifts, and perform all the other Sacraments. Just because the reverend fathers in the Lavra Caves teach their contemporary followers and all of us an example of holy life when there is no more love when someone sacrifices his soul for his neighbor."
Earlier, the UOJ wrote that according to Bishop Victor of Baryshevka, after the coronavirus pandemic we will definitely become better.