Ukraine's SBU probing into Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra incident after controversial footage

22 November 2022, 06:53 PM
Ukraine's Security Service probing into Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra incident (Photo:SBU)

Ukraine's Security Service probing into Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra incident (Photo:SBU)

Ukraine’s SBU security service is conducting a counterintelligence operation at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery after controversial footage of a religious service glorifying the "Russian world” appeared on social media, the SBU reported on Telegram on Nov. 22.

The investigation is being carried out jointly with the National Police and National Guard as part of measures to counter Russia special services' sabotage activities in Ukraine.

According to the SBU, the goals of this operation are:

  • preventing using the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra by representatives of the so-called "Russian world;"

    Video of day

  • checking data about using Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) premises to hide sabotage and reconnaissance groups, foreign citizens, and weapons caches;

  • protecting civilians from acts of provocation and terrorism.

In the presence of representatives of the church, the SBU is conducting searches of the Lavra's buildings and checking the personnel.

The SBU emphasized the legitimate and non-religious character of the inspection, saying that it is being conducted in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine.

On Nov. 12, a video of people praying for Russia in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra was shared on the Internet, prompting Ukrainian law enforcers to open up criminal proceedings.

On Nov. 15, the head of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan Pavlo, admitted that while praying in the church, those present were singing a song about Russia, but he claimed it wasn't connected to the church’s liturgical services.

Another UOC representative, Archimandrite Polikarp, said the priest overseeing services that day was busy and did not hear what "this group of activists was singing."

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