Metropolitan Anthony tells about attempt to seize Lavra during Euromaidan

Holy Dormition Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. Photo: lavra.ua/Alexander Vasiliev

In 2014, there were sensible people who realized that the seizure of the Lavra could trigger a real civil war throughout Ukraine, the UOC Chancellor believes.

The night of February 23, 2014, when there were several attempts to seize the Holy Dormition Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, was very difficult. Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich) of Boryspil and Brovary, Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, spoke about this in the film “UOC. From ‘Separatists In Lavras’ To Incitement And Forgiveness”, released by the journalists of the “Shariy.net” project.

That night, the UOC hierarch recalled, “the brethren and students – everyone who lived in the Lavra, stood at the gate and prayed”. His Beatitude Metropolitan Vladimir (Sabodan) of Kyiv and the abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk monastery, Metropolitan Pavel (Lebed) of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl, were in the hospital at that time.

“At the all-night vigil, people came to me and said that representatives of the Kyiv Patriarchate wanted to talk to me,” he said. “When I came to meet with them, I was convinced that it was necessary to surrender the Lavra, because  a law would supposedly be adopted the next day that could solve this issue at the legislative level. Then I found Avakov's phone number (Arsen Avakov was appointed acting Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in those days – Ed.), and he denied this version that the Verkhovna Rada would address the issue of who was supposed to own the Lavra."

After that, the UOC Chancellor explained, there were several attempts to seize the monastery, the first of which began after the statement of one of the so-called “priests” of the UOC-KP on the Maidan that “with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Filaret, we must now march on the Lavra.”

The Metropolitan said that some of the people who stood on the Maidan went to the Lavra with what they had in their hands, “but thanks to common sense and certain people who were Maidan leaders then, guards were set up here.”

At the same time, he clarified, the defense of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra had nothing to do with Petro Poroshenko, who really came at that time to the territory of the monastery and said to the camera that "we will protect you now."

“When he (Poroshenko – Ed.) approached the people who were already roaming the territory of the Lavra, they asked him to leave with obscene words,” explained the UOC Chancellor. “At the same time, as a person who, one might say, was involved in the protection of the Lavra, I guess that forces from Poroshenko never came to protect it. I know other people who sent guards here and talked to the "first wave" of assaulters, and, thank God, they dispersed."

According to Metropolitan Anthony, once everything calmed down, he was told by phone that the Maidan called again to attack the Lavra, “and we again mobilized the monastery brethren, students, who went on guards at different gates, and read the akathist”.

The second wave of those who came to seize the Lavra was not as massive as the first, and this time there was no storming either.

“This night was very difficult, but I think the Lavra was not seized, because there were sensible people who understood that it could trigger an internal civil war. Loyal people, the Orthodox will not give the shrine up without fight, so it could sparkle a real civil war across Ukraine with the Lavra being the epicenter. <...> God forbid, if someone makes such a decision. This will be the beginning of very dire situations in Ukraine. It concerns not only Kyiv, Pochaiv or Sviatogorsk Lavras – it will affect the whole of Ukraine, because it is a church shrine, which was created by people for prayer."

As the UOJ reported, Metropolitan Anthony also noted that so far none of the media had refuted their lies about weapons and separatists in the Sviatogorsk Lavra.

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