UOC bishops in Kiev say they feel threatened by OCU
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church monks of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra say they feel threatened by the Orthodox Church of Ukraine following the Ukrainian authorities' decision to rid the Lavra of the UOC.
After the Ukrainian authorities ordered the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) to leave the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, the Bishops of the UOC expressed that they felt threatened by the supporters of the partially-recognized Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU).
Bishop Gedeon, also given the name Yuriy Kharon, of Makarov, told Sputnik, in an interview on Friday, that "all my friends and acquaintances that I talk to feel threatened because the churches are being taken away from them. And what could be more threatening than them coming to you and taking away what belongs to the Church of Christ? And they don't take it away for anyone, they take it away for nothing. No one goes there, they don't even have parishioners."
According to the bishop, Kiev has not only The Ukrainian authorities are not simply trying to drive the canonical UOC out of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra their task is to transfer the Lavra to the schismatic OCU, the bishop added.
Moreover, Kharon explained that "their [Ukrainian authorities] very task is to transfer [the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra] to the OCU. After all, they do need some kind of Church. They cannot position themselves as theomachists or atheists, although they are, but they cannot say so openly, they do it through the OCU," he said.
Ukraine orders UOC Monks to leave Kiev-Pechersk Lavra by 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 Telegram, 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".