Ukraine wants to kick Russian Orthodox Church out of Pochaiv Lavra

4 April, 02:03 AM
Pochaiv Lavra (Photo:via Wikipedia)

Pochaiv Lavra (Photo:via Wikipedia)

Ukrainian MPs have registered a draft resolution appealing to the government to terminate the lease Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) has on Pochaiv Lavra monastery in Ternopil Oblast, according to a message on Ukrainian Parliament’s website published on April 3.

The motion was tabled by more than 30 MPs, although its full text is yet unavailable.

In 2003, Pochaiv Lavra of Holy Dormition monastery was transferred to ROC, for 49 years.

Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is keen to get the right to hold services in Pochaiv Lavra, which is leased from the ROC, with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine having similar plans.

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On March 16, Ukraine’s Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko announced the process of returning the Pochaiv Lavra under state control was underway.

ROC was supposed to vacate Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra on March 29 after the State Reserve terminated its 2013 lease agreement. However, as of March 30, ROC priests continued to hold services in the Lavra.

A Ministry of Culture commission has been denied entry to the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra for two straight days.

Representatives of the ROC, led by the Lavra’s abbot, Metropolitan Pavlo, accused Ukrainian authorities and Ministry of Culture officials of issuing an “ultimatum” with demands that they argue have no legal basis. The church also stated its intention to “protect” the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra “by all lawful means.”

Despite claims that its representatives do not intend to leave the holy site, ROC priests were seen removing property from the Lavra.

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