State commission seals off Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra building before court hearing
MOSCOW. April 19 (Interfax) - The state commission accepting the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra sealed off one of the Lavra's buildings on Wednesday, despite the fact a court will consider the legality of terminating the rental agreement with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church a week from now.
The Ukrainian media quoted the Lavra's lawyer, Archpriest Nikita Chekman, as saying that commission members forced the locks in the presence of the police and illegally sealed off Building No. 39.
Ukrainian Culture Minister Alexander Tkachenko said on Telegram that the state commission had examined the condition of three buildings, No. 37, No. 37a and No. 38, and concluded that the tenant (the Ukrainian Orthodox Church) had not maintained fire safety in them.
On March 29, the Ukrainian government unilaterally terminated the Lavra rental agreement with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and demanded that the premises be vacated. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church appealed this decision in a court, which scheduled the first hearing to take place on April 26. In the first days after the agreement's termination, state commission members tried to enter various Lavra buildings to accept and seal them off, yet believers blocked their actions. When another inspection was made on Wednesday, the Lavra's parishioners formed a religious procession and followed the inspectors while singing Orthodox hymns.