7 Aug 2023 18:31

Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra superior released from custody

MOSCOW. Aug 7 (Interfax) - Metropolitan Pavel, the superior of the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra, was released from custody on Monday, his lawyer Archpriest Nikita Chekman said on his Telegram channel.

Kiev's Solomensky District Court earlier put Metropolitan Pavel, who was under round-the-clock house arrest, in custody with a bail of 33,300,000 hryvni (some $1 million), he said.

Requisites that everyone could use to join and pay bail for Metropolitan Pavel, speeding up his release from the detention facility, were published on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church's website.

"Today's event is a common achievement of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church's flock, who proved that nothing is impossible," the lawyer said, adding that some 1,000 people had contributed to the bail.

On July 14, Kiev's Solomensky District Court put the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra superior, who had been under house arrest, in custody until August 14. The judges envisaged the possibility of his release on a $900,000 bail.

The charges against the archpriest are connected to an interview in which he denied the existence of Ukraine as a sovereign state. It was also stated that the metropolitan called the special military operation "a civil conflict," which had lasted since 2014, and those words also led to the charges.

The crime the superior is charged with committing is punishable by up to eight years in prison with property confiscation.

The metropolitan earlier said in a video address that he had been given an ultimatum: the criminal charges against him would be dropped in exchange for the eviction of monks from the Lavra and a shift to the non-canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine. He refused the deal.