Ukraine orders UOC Monks to leave Kiev-Pechersk Lavra by July 4
The Ukrainian Culture Ministry created a commission to seal the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra's premises, forcing the monks to evacuate before July 4.
Given the refusal of the monks of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), who have resided in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra for centuries, to desert their church and join the partially-recognized Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), the Ukrainian Culture Ministry created a commission to seal the Lavra's premises, forcing the monks to evacuate before July 4.
Nikita Chekman, the clerics' legal advisor, posted on Saturday part of the decree on Telegran, which read: "A commission has been created for sealing the buildings, which begins its work on July 4, 2023. In this regard, we ask you to vacate the premises and give the keys from them to the reserve. If the monastery refuses to give the keys from the buildings ... the locks will be replaced and the buildings will be sealed."
Earlier, on June 30, the Solomianskyi District Court of Kiev approved a request by the prosecutor to extend the house arrest of the Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), Pavel, by 24 hours, in addition to forcing him to wear a bracelet for another two months.
Earlier in April, Metropolitan Pavel, the abbot of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, was sentenced to 60 days of house arrest, and the clergy of the Cathedral of Khmelnytskyi were charged with "hooliganism".
It is worth noting that Country.UA reported that Metropolitan Pavel had stated that he was offered a deal prior to his being charged with suspicion and incitement.
"I was told that if I did not oppose Epiphanius and support the transition of the monks of the Lavra to the OCU, all cases against me would be closed," Pavel said, according to the news outlet.
To put things into perspective, Metropolitan Pavel serves as the head of the UOC of the Moscow Patriarchate and was offered to abandon the Moscow Patriarchate and follow Metropolitan Epiphanius of Kiev and All Ukraine.
Epiphanius used to serve under the UOC Kiev Patriarchate but now serves as the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, a partially-recognized Eastern Orthodox Church that gained its independence in 2019 after Bartholomew I of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople granted a tomos of autocephaly, which serves as a decree of ecclesial independence, to the Church.