The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) will receive a long-term contract for the use of two important churches at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery, OCU Primate Epiphanius said in an interview with NV on Jan. 25.
“We indeed received two one-time permits to hold church services, because we still need to settle some legal nuances, but I’m sure we’ll also receive a long-term contract for the use of two churches in the Upper Lavra: the Assumption Cathedral and the Refectory Church,” Epiphanius said.
According to Epiphanius, in order to be able to hold church services on the territory of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, the OCU Synod decided to register a legal entity within the OCU – the Holy Dormition Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.
The OCU head noted this legal entity will initially receive one-time permits and will hold church services in these facilities only during major holidays.
However, over time, when the OCU monastery is formed and some part of the Lower Lavra joins it, “we will then organize and settle everything, and church services will be held regularly in the central Assumption Cathedral every Sunday, while church services will be held on the territory of the Lavra every day.”
The Holy Dormition Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra was officially registered as a monastery within the OCU in early December 2022.
According to the representative of the OCU, Eustratiy Zorya, in practice this means that there is a legal entity that can obtain the use of property, churches and premises. Therefore, it creates an opportunity for the monks and the faithful to choose who to follow.
On Jan. 7, on Eastern Orthodox Christmas Day, Epiphanius conducted a first service in the Assumption Cathedral of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.
On Jan. 5, the Assumption Cathedral and the Refectory Church of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery, which had been leased by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), were returned to state control. The decision was made by the commission that took an inventory of the property and inspected the buildings.
Epiphanius held a second service in the Assumption Cathedral of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery on Jan. 19. It was the liturgy marking the occasion of the Baptism of Jesus Christ.