Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra abbot alleges ‘strange behavior’ suggested Russian agents present in church complex

3 September, 11:04 PM
A Russian agent could be located on the territory of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (Photo:REUTERS / Gleb Garanich)

A Russian agent could be located on the territory of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (Photo:REUTERS / Gleb Garanich)

After the start of the full-scale invasion, there have been people who behaved strangely at services and meetings on the monastery's grounds, Acting Abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra Archimandrite Abraham said in an interview with RFE/RL project “Skhemy” on Sept. 2.

The acting abbot of the Lavra suggested that the strangely behaving people were Russian agents, whom he said had always worked at the religious complex, in the heart of the Ukrainian capital, overlooking the Dnipro river.

He said that he himself had seen people on the premises of the Lavra who were probably representatives of the Russian special services.

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"There have been such (episodes)," said Abraham.

“Of course, the leadership of the Moscow Patriarchate is silent about this. But with the full-scale invasion, very often on the territory of the Lavra one could see people who behaved strangely during services and meetings.”

Eviction of the Moscow Church from Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra: What is known

At the end of March, the state ordered the Moscow Patriarchate church to move out of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra due to the termination of its lease agreement.

For a long time, representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate prevented the start of the work of the Ministry of Culture's commission on property inventory.

On June 6, the Commission of the Ministry of Culture completed the inventory and acceptance of the property of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. In particular, 36 illegal buildings were found on the monastery's grounds. The Moscow Patriarchate church representatives were ordered to leave the monastery within three days.

The Moscow Patriarchate then filed a lawsuit against the alleged illegality of the termination of the contract.

On Aug. 9, the Kyiv Commercial Court recognized the termination of the contract between the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra Reserve and the Moscow Patriatchate church as legal. The court also ordered the monastery to return 79 objects of the Lower Lavra to the reserve.

On Aug. 11, the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra Reserve temporarily suspended access to the Lower Lavra to all visitors.

On Aug. 15, a commission of the Ministry of Culture began evicting Moscow Patriarchate monks from the Lavra's buildings by court order. The monks did not want to comply with the court decision and resisted. Thirty people barricaded themselves in a dormitory on the premises of the shrine.

The commission had to force open the doors with special tools in order to evict them.

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