Filaret-esque practice: UOC comments on OCU's claims to the Lavra
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church responded to the OCU’s intention to establish a new "monastery".
The Legal Department of the UOC commented on the decision of the “synod” of the OCU dated May 23, 2022, which created a religious organization with the name “Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra” and filed a petition to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to transfer one of the temples of the Upper Lavra to the use of the OCU. The text of the commentary is published by the Information and Education Department of the UOC.
“By its decision to establish the ‘OCU’ monastery in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, the ‘Synod of the OCU’ actually duplicates the name of the UOC monastery that currently operates in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. Also, this decision is further proof to the predatory policy of church looting at the level of the ‘Holy Synod of the OCU’, which was put in place since the beginning of the military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and consists in the illegal seizure of temples and religious organizations belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The practice of creating parallel church structures with a similar or identical name was launched under Filaret (Denisenko) with the aim of raider seizure of the property of religious communities,” the commentary says.
The UOC notes that since the 1990s, owing to the efforts of believers and monks of the monastery of the UOC of the Holy Dormition Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, churches, cells and liturgical life have been restored in the monastery, which continues to this day.
The Legal Department cites statistics from the State Service of Ukraine for Ethnopolitics and Freedom of Conscience, according to which, as of January 1, 2021, 79 monasteries are registered in the OCU, which include 233 monks, which is 2.9 people per monastery. This suggests that today the OCU does not need the formation of new monasteries, since there are not a large number of people among the followers of Dumenko who want to live a monastic life, while most of the monasteries of the structure exist only on paper.
“In this regard, we are inclined to conclude that the decision of the ‘synod of the OCU’ to establish a monastery is another attempt to have an artificial monastery, which is not about organizing a monastic life, but creates a potential threat of hostility on religious grounds,” summed up the Legal Department of the UOC.
Recall that the OCU created the "Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra" structure and aims to receive and use one of the temples.