Bishops and abbots of Bulgarian Church speak out in support of the Lavra

26 March 16:20
Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. Photo: Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. Photo:

The Bulgarian Church asked the Ukrainian authorities not to interfere in church affairs.

Bishops and abbots of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church came out in support of the Kyiv Caves Lavra brethren of the, who were persecuted by the Ukrainian authorities.

The appeal was published on the Facebook page of the Vidin Metropolis of the Bulgarian Church.

The Bulgarian Church expressed concern about the decision of the leadership of the National Reserve "Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra" that the monks must leave the holy monastery before March 29, 2023.

“The Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra is the first monastery of Kievan Rus, founded in the 11th century by the first ascetics of ancient Russian monasticism, St. Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves. It was landscaped by Orthodox monastics and the people of Kievan Rus, and then the Russian Empire, hundreds of saints, universally revered in the entire Orthodox Church, shone in the monastery,” the address noted.

“Over the past thirty years, at the cost of incredible efforts, the clergy of the monastery, with the help of the Orthodox people of Ukraine, as well as pilgrims from all over the Orthodox world, have erected the holy monastery literally from ruin and desolation,” the Bulgarian Church added.

According to them, a blow to the monastery is a blow to the largest religion in Ukraine, "a blow to the Orthodox Ukrainian people and the entire Orthodox Church, a blow to the living Body of Christ."

The Bulgarian Church expressed its full support to the monks of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra and appealed to the authorities of Ukraine, urging them not to interfere in church affairs.

“We appeal to the state authorities of Ukraine not to interfere in church affairs, to observe the principle of separation of the state from the Church. We urge to preserve the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra in its sole and unique purpose as a place for worship and habitation of the monastics of the canonical Church,” the appeal says.

“Today, more than 200 monks and novices live in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. Over the past thirty years, they have erected a holy monastery and many churches in it from the ruins, inherited from the atheistic regime, through selfless work and with the support of a devout people. They should not be deprived of a place of repentance and prayer. Their prayers are a support for all of us in difficult trials. The Kyiv Theological Academy and Seminary are located in the Lavra, where many students and seminarians study. These are the future clerics and ministers of the Church,” the appeal summed up.

The petition was signed by:

Bishop Michael of Konstantia, rector of the Chekotinsky monastery with the brethren;
Archimandrite John, rector of the Pravesh Monastery of St. Theodore Tiron with the brethren;
Archimandrite Nazariy, rector of the monastery of the Holy Trinity in Apriltsi with the brethren;
Archimandrite John, rector of the Chiprovsky Monastery of St. John of Rylsky;
Archimandrite Nifont, rector of the Lopushansky Monastery of St. John Rylsky;
Monk Emil Yakimov, rector of the monastery of the Holy Trinity in Etropol;
Nun Cassiana, abbess of the Vrachensky monastery of the Holy Forty Martyrs with sisters.

As previously reported by the UOJ, the clergy of the Eastern American Diocese of ROCOR came out in defense of the UOC.

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