15 Mar 2023 18:24

Pope Francis worried by situation surrounding Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra monastery

MOSCOW. March 15 (Interfax) - Pope Francis has said he is concerned about the situation prompted by the Ukrainian authorities' intention to expel monks of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra monastery.

"I am thinking of the Orthodox monks of the Kiev Lavra monastery. I am asking the opposing sides to respect places of worship," Il Mattino quoted the pope as saying following a general audience on Wednesday.

"People of any faith dedicating themselves to prayer are a support for the people of God," he said.

As reported earlier, the Ukrainian authorities obliged the Ukrainian Orthodox Church's top clergy and monks to leave the Lavra by March 29, when a contract with the church on the rent of state property on the monastery's grounds is to be severed. The decision to sever the contract was prompted by supposed violations in using said property, although the authorities did not specify what violations actually took place.

However, Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl, the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra's abbot, warned that the monks were not going to obey the state ordering their eviction from the monastery.