UOC hierarch: To close the Lavra is to stop the heart of Ukraine

28 March 20:22
Archbishop Viktor (Kotsaba). Photo: a video screenshot from the YouTube channel Archbishop Viktor (Kotsaba). Photo: a video screenshot from the YouTube channel "Thoughts Aloud".

Abp Viktor of Baryshivka said that the Lavra is the place where the Ukrainian statehood was born, and, therefore, without prayers in its caves, Ukraine will not develop.

UOC hierarch, Archbishop Viktor (Kotsaba), said that at present the hearts and thoughts of all Orthodox Christians in Ukraine, and not only, are riveted to the greatest national shrine of Ukraine – the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. The words of the archbishop are quoted by politica.com.ua.

Vladyka noted that founded nearly a thousand years ago, this monastery has experienced different times – from the heyday in the princely era to the decline and destruction during the Bolshevik-Soviet regime. It was almost completely wiped out by Mongol-Tatars, it almost ceased to function several times, and sometimes it seemed that prayer would no longer be heard within its walls. However, each time the Kyiv Caves Lavra rose from ashes, as if it revived after death, like a mythical phoenix bird. And every time this "resurrection" was perceived as a miracle.

"Why does it happen like that? Why does this monastery not disappear from the territory of our homeland? To answer these questions, suffice it to recall the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said: "I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". Indeed, if God wants a monastery to exist, no powers can destroy it. Nevertheless, there is one more thing to keep in mind when we talk about Lavra. It is prayer. What is the most important work for a monk? Labour? Social service? Charity work? No. The most important thing in the life of a monk is prayer," said Vladyka Viktor.

The UOC bishop noted that churches and monasteries were primarily designed for prayer and have no other practical application. It does not mean that temples should not be beautiful and aesthetically appealing. This does not mean that they should not fulfil a cultural or social mission, but prayer remains central.

"As long as there is prayer in the temple, the temple is alive. On the other hand, as long as there is prayer in it, it cannot be destroyed. You can destruct it, burn it, desecrate it, and blow it up with explosives or shells. But it cannot be destroyed. If there is prayer in the place where the temple was, the temple will certainly reappear. Prayer is what the temple was built for, and at the same time prayer is what helps the temple to exist. The Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra will exist and breathe freely only in case if prayerful chanting of monks, crying out to God day and night can be heard within its walls. Moreover, as long as there are monks in the Lavra, as long as there is Holy Liturgy in its revered temples, there will be Ukraine," His Eminence claims.

Archbishop Viktor of Baryshivka stressed that not only monasticism but also Ukrainian statehood originates in the Lavra, and therefore it can only develop and grow stronger if the caves continue to be filled with words of daily monastic prayer.

"In this shrine beats the heart of our people, whose courage has recently stirred up the whole world again. To close the Lavra is to stop the heart of Ukraine. And it is even frightening to think what may await us if this heart gives up its last beats," the vicar concluded.

As reported, believers from different cities called the eviction of the UOC from the Lavra a crime.

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