Authorities deny access to Kyiv Caves relics

20 March 21:42
Metropolitan Clement. Photo: a screenshot from the YouTube channel of the UOC Metropolitan Clement. Photo: a screenshot from the YouTube channel of the UOC

Metropolitan Clement said that the Ukrainian authorities close the Caves with the relics of saints and the temples of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.

The head of the Synodal Information and Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Clement (Vecheria) of Nizhyn and Pryluki, said that access to the relics of Kyiv Caves saints is closed since March 21, 2023, reports the UOC Information and Education Department.

According to the bishop, "these days not only our fellow believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church but also many non-indifferent people abroad sincerely worry about the destiny of the shrine – our holy Pechersk Lavra".

"And here today I must urgently inform you of other very unpleasant news. Today, March 20, we’ve got a letter from the management of the National Reserve of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, which notifies us that from tomorrow morning the Museum will stop access to the caves to worship the relics of Caves saints," Metropolitan Clement said.

He said that the restriction of access to the relics was due to the fact that the Ministry of Culture set up a commission, whose purpose, as stated in the letter, is to "determine the safety of the museum exhibits, as they call the relics”.

Vladyka said that this commission will work from March 20 until an unknown date.  During the work of this commission, our believers will not be able to visit the caves, as well as the Holy Cross Church, St. Anne's Conception and 'warm' churches. Neither will they be able to hold worship, nor prayers, nor other services “which for many decades have been held every day for the sake of spiritual comfort of all those who came to pray to the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra”.

"The abbot and brothers of the Lavra received this news with exсeptional pain, and we all beseech God and implore the Venerable Anthony and Theodosius and all the Kyiv Caves saints that they do not deprive us of their prayer cover even at this time of such special trials of our faith when we see the absolutely atheistic and godless approach of state authorities, in particular the Ministry of Culture towards the great Orthodox relics," said Metropolitan Clement.

He added that it is unknown when or if there will be an opportunity to worship the relics again as there is a possibility that representatives of the state reserve will not allow the UOC believers to pray in the Lavra.

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