11 Jul 2023 09:55

Seizure of Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra buildings continues in Kiev

MOSCOW. July 11 (Interfax) - A strong police presence was reported from the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra in Kiev early on Tuesday morning ahead of the continued seizure of buildings from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

According to Kiev media, the monastery is sounding the alarm as representatives of the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra Museum and Reserve, backed by police cordons blocking the believers, are seizing Building 54 and are preparing to seize Building 58.

They tried to seize the buildings on Monday, as usual, by changing the locks and sealing off the premises yet the Lavra flock prevented the officials from accessing the buildings. Now the situation of July 6, when Reserve representatives backed by a special police unit changed the locks and seized five buildings, including Building 70 housing the residence of Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and all Ukraine, repeats itself.

The Ukrainian government unilaterally terminated the Lavra rental agreement with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in March 2023. The Church has appealed the decision in court, and the proceeding is ongoing. Yet the authorities have chosen not to wait for its finalization and demand that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church vacate the Lavra immediately.