Ministry of Culture recommends not renewing Moscow Patriarchate church’s lease for two churches in Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra

27 December 2022, 06:30 PM
Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (Photo:Киево-Печерская Лавра/Facebook)

Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (Photo:Киево-Печерская Лавра/Facebook)

The Ministry of Culture is recommending that the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra not renew a lease for the Dormition Cathedral and the Trapezna (Refectory) Church for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), Minister of Culture Oleksandr Tkachenko said on national television on Dec. 27.

"The lease agreement for Dormition Cathedral and Trapezna (Refectory) Church in Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra is expiring,” he explained.

“The director of the national historic-cultural preserve has asked for guidance on the issue. In accordance with the presidential decree on the inspection of the use of the Lavra's property, we will recommend not to extend the agreement.”

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Tkachenko explained a governmental commission has been established to conduct an inspection in the Lavra, and for the time being there are no services conducted at these two churches.

The Minister noted the perpetual lease agreement in regard to the churches of the Lower Lavra was signed back in 2013.

”In 2013 the perpetual lease agreement with the Moscow Orthodox Church was signed for the churches of the Lower Lavra,” he said.

“But according to the decree, the government commission has to inspect the use of the Lavra's property there as well and then decide.”

The abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan Pavlo (Lebed), appealed to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to delay or suspend the lease inspection, as he claims he was not informed about it ahead of time.

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Epiphanius of the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) has asked Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal for one of Lavra's churches.

On Dec. 1, the National Security and Defense Council instructed the State Service for Ethnic Policy and Freedom of Conscience to conduct an examination of the statute of the UOC-MP, as well as to submit to the government a draft law that will allow the prohibition of organizations in Ukraine "affiliated with Russian centers of influence".

Ukraine’s SBU security service has been conducted numerous raids on UOC-MP-run monasteries throughout the country. In many of these raids, the SBU has discovered evidence of pro-Russian literature.

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