Chronicles of standing for Lavra: 1 April

02 April 16:17
Prayerful standing for Lavra on 1 April Prayerful standing for Lavra on 1 April

We offer a chronicle of the believers’ standing for the Kyiv Caves Lavra. 1 April.

The morning of 1 April began with searches conducted by officers of the Security Service of Ukraine in the office of Metropolitan Pavel, the abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.

At about 8 a.m., together with the information about the searches, it became known that the bishop was handed a suspicion under two articles of the Criminal Code at once: 161 (incitement of inter-religious hatred) and 436 (justification of Russia’s armed aggression). Metropolitan Pavel commented: "I did not curse anyone. But I said the words of the Gospel, that our tears would not fall to the ground, but they would fall on the heads of those who caused this unrest.” So, in the conversation with the SBU officers the words that Metropolitan Paul said the day before, addressing the persecutors of the Church, were mentioned: "I tell you, Mr President! I tell you and your team that our tears will not fall on the ground, they will fall on your heads. Do you think that by coming into power on our backs you can do this? God will not forgive you or your family!"

At this time the Lavra was praying. Metropolitan Paul also wanted to be with the faithful. However, instead of the service he had to sign the protocols and answer the questions of the SBU. True, the bishop could not and did not want to stay without a service to God. Before the interrogation, which was scheduled for 12.00 noon, he asked the security officers to allow him to go to the church to receive the Holy Communion. Those who took him for interrogation went with him to the temple. They guarded the vicar at the iconostasis.

After partaking the Communion and leaving the holy altar, Vladyka addressed the huge number of believers who had gathered in the temple: “Today I was handed a suspicion and a search is being carried out in the Lavra. I have always said and will continue to say that I condemn everything that is done against our state, and what Russia did with Ukraine cannot be justified by anything. I have always stood in defence of my native land. But I cannot sin before God by recognizing those people who act against His Church and Holy Orthodoxy. I thank the employees of the Security Service, who carry out searches in a very cultured and dignified manner, following the instructions given to them.”

Metropolitan Pavel was taken for interrogation. For some time, the car with the bishop could not leave the Lavra – it was blocked. Later, as soon as the car with Vladyka left the territory of the monastery, SBU officers came out. On the one side, people shouted: “Thank you to the SBU!”, and on the other side – “Shame on the SBU!”.

At this time, NSDC Secretary Danilov said: “I emphasize once again that everything will be done according to the law. The Lavra will be cleared of those people who are there now.”

At 12 noon, the Shevchenkivskyy Court of Kyiv started a court hearing on the issue of a preventive measure for Metropolitan Pavel, the abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. The session was held behind closed doors and only journalists were allowed to attend it with IDs.

Meanwhile, a number of radicals, or more precisely, teenagers, who had come to "earn some money", gathered near the Lavra. The brethren of the Lavra came out in a religious procession to support the defenders and to reinforce their prayers; they were met by the radicals singing songs in wild voices and shouting "Moskals to Knives".

At around 1 pm, Metropolitan Pavel was given the floor in court, in which he fully denied his guilt, and his lawyer said that he was given only 30 minutes to prepare materials for his defence. However, as early as 2 pm, the Shevchenkivskyy Court of Kyiv dismissed Metropolitan Pavel's lawyer's motion for the recusal of Judge Kovtunenko. The court started to consider the Prosecutor's motion for a measure of restraint for Met. Pavel, which demanded 60 days of house arrest for him.

At that time, Orthodox AFU veterans arrived at the Lavra. They explained to the radicals in the language accessible what they were doing near the monastery. In their turn, the drunken opponents of the UOC said to whom and what they would not forgive, and the new "abbot" of the Lavra, former UOC Archimandrite Abramius, recorded an address in which he tried to justify his new "brothers in the faith”.

At 3 pm, apparently in order to help the Kyiv court make a quick decision on a preventive measure for Metropolitan Pavel, the SBU published "evidence" of the vicar's guilt, naming him a "former" abbot of the Lavra. The SBU did not explain why he was a former vicar. Most likely because the Special Service already knew that Metropolitan Pavlo would not return to the Lavra.

The Macedonian Church threw a serious stone into the garden of the OCU and the entire history of its support by the Phanar and the Ukrainian authorities. Its Holy Synod in response to Epifaniy Dumenko's request for a joint public service said that they would not serve with the OCU representatives. These words of the Macedonians are especially important in light of the accusations that Metropolitan Pavel received. The Lavra abbot felt unwell right in the courtroom during the meeting. The court postponed the hearing on the election of the preventive measure to Monday.

At 5 p.m., an open-air all-night vigil began near the entrance to the monastery. In order to somehow interfere with the prayer, radicals drove a car with powerful audio speakers near the Lavra, and the opponents of the UOC, in parallel with the prayer of the faithful, staged their own discotheque.

It was at this time that a new message came about the trial against Metropolitan Pavel. The court took unprecedented measures – it cancelled its own decision and scheduled a hearing for 18.30 of the current day with the forcible delivery of Vladyka Pavel from the hospital. Accompanied by law enforcement officers, the Lavra abbot left for the trial, which should not have taken place at all. On social networks, the opinion is spreading that this was done on a call from Bankova.

The court session continued with the fact that the Prosecutor's Office demanded for Metropolitan Pavel a 60-day house arrest and wearing a bracelet, as well as a ban on video messages to believers. Vladyka’s fault, according to the prosecutor, is that “beginning on February 24, 2022, after the full-scale aggression of the Russian Federation, Peter Lebed (Metropolitan Pavel) decided to justify the aggression of the Russian Federation, being the abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, by communicating with the parishioners of the monastery.”

In turn, Metropolitan Pavel thanked the prosecutors “for their hard work,” and the journalists for constantly writing about him and thus popularizing the Lavra.

The bishop said that there had been attempts to poison him twice, in 2012 and in 2014, because of which his spleen was removed. He also stated that today a 13.2 mm cyst was found in his head.

Due to health problems, Vladyka Pavel asked that a preventive measure, if chosen, be assigned to him in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra or he suggested that the court allow him to go to church services if the house arrest is at a different address.

As a result, the Shevchenkivsky Court of Kyiv chose a measure of restraint for Metropolitan Pavel in the form of around-the-clock house arrest for a period of 60 days with an electronic bracelet at the address: Voronkiv village, Boryspil district. The court rejected the request of the Prosecutor's Office to ban the recording of public videos with further publication. The court also denied the petition of Bishop Pavel's defence side to attend services at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.

Right in the courtroom, Vladyka was put on an electronic bracelet on his leg. Addressing the Primates of the Local Churches, Metropolitan Pavel said: “This is how they treat objectionable people in our country.”

Addressing the policeman who carried out this procedure, Metropolitan Pavel said: "I am grateful to you, as to Simon of Cyrene." This man, we recall, helped Jesus Christ carry the cross to Golgotha. It was probably from that moment that Vladyka Pavel went to his Golgotha.

As a classic would say, in the hall of the Shevchenko Court, Metropolitan Pavel's biography ended, and hagiography began.

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