Moscow-linked church to vacate all Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra premises
Oleksandr Tkachenko, Ukraine’s Minister of Culture and Information Policy, has said that monks and priests from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) must vacate all premises of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (the Monastery of the Caves in Kyiv) by the end of March.
Source: Oleksandr Tkachenko on Telegram
Quote from Tkachenko: "The agreement for the free use of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra by the UOC will be terminated on 29 March 2023. This applies to all Lavra premises rented by the UOC.
Today, on 10 March 2023, the National Kyiv-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Reserve gave notice to the UOC’s Holy Dormition Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (the men’s monastery) to terminate the agreement on the free use of religious buildings and other state property.
Details: Tkachenko said that several working groups established by the reserve would start working on the property inventory and inspecting the state of the buildings and structures.
The minister explained that this was in accordance with the law.
Previously: The UOC-PC has occupied the premises of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra free of charge for many years. It has a monastery on the Pechersk Hills.
On 10 March, the National Kyiv-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Reserve where the Lavra is located informed the UOC-PC monastery that the 10-year-old agreement (dated 19 July 2013) on the free use of religious buildings and other state-owned property would be terminated on 29 March 2023.
The notice included a demand that the Church vacate the buildings at 11, Lavrska St and 15, Lavrska St in Kyiv.
The UOC-MP stated that there were no legal grounds for its eviction, which it called a "whim of officials from the Ministry of Culture".
During a meeting on 1 December, Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council (NSDC) instructed the Cabinet of Ministers to propose that the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) institute a ban on the UOC-MP, and also initiated a review of the legality of the UOC-MP’s presence at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.
The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) conducted dozens of searches of the premises of UOC-MP churches and monasteries, including at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. The SSU considers UOC-MP priests to be enemy agents.
In 2022, the SSU opened 52 criminal cases involving 55 clergymen of the UOC-MP, including 14 bishops.
Almost 200 clerics of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) have been banned from entering Ukraine. Ukraine has also imposed sanctions on the UOC-MP and ROC leaders.
As of 23 February 2023, the SSU has investigated nearly 60 criminal proceedings against pro-Russian clergy of the UOC-MP, with more than 350 church buildings and 850 people undergoing extensive checks. The courts have handed down seven guilty verdicts.
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