Abbot: We will not be evicted from the Lavra and no one will force us
The abbot urged the faithful to come to defend the Lavra and, most importantly, to pray.
Metropolitan Pavel (Lebed) of Chornobyl, the abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, stated on the YouTube channel "Lavra. The Path of Salvation" that no one will force UOC monks to leave the Lavra.
Metropolitan Pavel said that he has done everything to revive and preserve the Lavra, so there is no reason to evict UOC monks.
"We will not be evicted from the Lavra, there are laws that are on the side of man, and we are citizens of our country. I have been the abbot of the greatest shrine for 29 years and have done everything to preserve the shrine, so we do not intend to and will not be evicted, no one can force us, there is no reason for eviction," he said.
According to him, provocations happen every day and come from people who have nothing to do with faith.
"Provocations are committed by officials, they issue decrees, people who have no idea about God and history come. I talked to one of them, he does not know either ‘Our Father” or the “Creed”, what was he saying, God forbid. So today in our country amazing things happen – when billions are stolen and lawlessness is committed, the police do not react, but here the monks pray, the police are on duty round the clock on the perimeter of the Lavra, so they love monks so much," he added.
The abbot recalled in what state he received the Lavra 29 years ago.
"There were no icons in the Refectory Church, there was no Dormition Cathedral at all. The Church of the Nativity of the Virgin had nothing, only walls, the Church of the Conception of the Righteous Anna had a theatre. In the Church of the Holy Cross, the iconostasis was broken, there was a hole dug out in the place of the altar. There was no Church of Joy of All Who Sorrow, St Sergius of Radonezh, St Agapitus of the Caves," he listed.
Metropolitan Pavel also said that he tried to call the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, and Culture Minister Andriy Tkachenko, but they ignored his calls.
"I have called the head of the Presidential Office Andriy Yermak three times and texted him, he did not answer, I have dialled the Minister of Culture two or three times, and he told people he saw my call, but he did not answer either, I have talked to the museum director three times, he agreed to meet, but he never came. These people are far from statehood, culture and faith. I am horrified at the future of my country. If we started to fit every president, it would be a society of mentally ill people," the Lavra abbot added.
The UOC hierarch urged the faithful to come to the defence of the Lavra and most importantly, to pray.
"I call upon you to come to the defence of the Lavra because here you will hear a call to repentance. To repent, to ask for forgiveness, and to pray for the authorities who act unjustly, but we must ask God for mercy for them because they were chosen. Read the Gospel, the Psalms, the akathists to the Kyiv Caves saints, especially during these days, to the Dormition of the Mother of God, to the icon of the Mother of God "Pecherskaya", to Sts Spiridon the Triumphant, Nicholas the Wonderworker, the Mother of God, the Saviour. And most important – come to the service. I once said to acquaintances, "Pray in the Lavra while the Lavra is open," the abbot said.
Metropolitan Pavel noted that for Orthodox believers, the centre is not in Moscow, Kyiv or anywhere else but in Heaven, and the most important thing is to give an answer to God.
"Now the enemy of mankind has risen up against Christ. You hear what the UN and the Pope say, but the Pope must order his children, the Greek Catholics, not to do what they are doing. You can't plot and say our centre is in Moscow. Our centre is in Heaven where Christ is. Let us give our hearts to God, and then there will be no war. I call for prayer. Whether you are a supporter of the OCU, a Muslim, or a Jew, what do we have to divide? Land? We will not take it, but we will go there. God? He is in our hearts. In Heaven, there is only one advocate – Christ, and the one who does His will and lives by the Gospel will win," he concluded.