ROC Primate asks international organizations to stop seizure of the Lavra

12 March 14:47
Patriarch Kirill. Photo: Patriarch Kirill. Photo:

Appeals were sent to the Primates of the Local Churches, the Pope, the Patriarch of the Coptic Church, the head of the Anglican Communion and others.

On March 11, 2023, Patriarch Kirill appealed to the Primates of the Local Churches, a number of religious figures and representatives of international organizations to stop the seizure of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, reports.

Recall that on March 10, 2023, the leadership of the National Reserve "Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra" informed the brethren of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra about the termination of the agreement on the use of temples and buildings of the monastery and the requirement to leave the territory of the monastery before March 29.

Patriarch Kirill pointed out that this decision was preceded by a number of measures of pressure on the monastic community of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.

“The Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra is the first monastery of Kievan Rus, which has existed since the 11th century, the founder of the common spiritual and monastic tradition of the Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian peoples. This is the cradle of our civilization and national cultures,” Patriarch Kirill recalled. “The first historical monument of Ancient Rus' – 'The Tale of Bygone Years' was written here, the writing and literature of our peoples originates from here. Throughout the thousand-year history of the monastery, it has repeatedly suffered from raids, foreign conquests and outright persecution of Christians. But only during the reign of militant atheistic power in the 20th century were the Lavra’s monastic expelled from the monastery.”

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church noted that “new generations of monks again revived the monastery with minimal state assistance or even no assistance at all and restored the monastery, the Assumption and Refectory churches, which have now been taken away from them. But most importantly, they managed to recreate the old spiritual traditions and a full-fledged monastic life in the Lavra.”

The primate of the Russian Orthodox Church specifically mentioned that the ultimatum of the state authorities to the Kyiv-Pechersk Monastery, published by the Ukrainian media, "draws attention to itself by having no sufficient legal justifications."

“It is regrettable that when the state leadership of Ukraine declares its commitment to democratic norms, the European path of development, respect for human rights and freedoms, these rights and freedoms are today violated in the most blatant way,” Patriarch Kirill emphasized.

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church appealed to religious actors and representatives of international organizations with a call to “make every possible effort to prevent the forced closure of the monastery, which will lead to the violation of the rights of millions of Ukrainian believers to freedom of religion, guaranteed by the Constitution of Ukraine, as well as such documents as the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, and many other acts of international significance.”

The appeals were sent, in particular, to the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches, Pope Francis, Patriarch of the Coptic Church Tawadros II, Head of the Anglican Communion Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, Secretary General of the World Council of Churches Dr. Jerry Pillay, UN Secretary General António Guterres, OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid, Secretary General of the Council of Europe Maria Pejcinovic-Buric, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Matteo Mecacci.

As the UOJ reported earlier, thousands of people gathered for a Divine Liturgy at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.

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