Monks, Worshippers at Ukrainian Orthodox Church Decline Government's Order to Leave Kyiv Monastery


The Ukrainian Orthodox Church reportedly violated tenancy agreements and built buildings without the proper permits, leading the government to force them to vacate Kyiv Monastery. However, the church refuted the accusation, and its monks and worshippers refused to abandon the monastery.

Order on Ukrainian Orthodox Church to Leave Kyiv Monastery 

Although the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) severed its official links with the Moscow Patriarchate (the official title of the Bishop of Moscow) after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a massive war against Ukraine in February 2022, the UOC is still seen as a pro-Moscow entity despite being active in the center of Kyiv.

A report from Reuters stated that the Ukraine government had ordered the UOC to abandon the vast 980-year-old Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastic complex by Wednesday, Mar. 29. It comes against the backdrop of Russia's war against Ukraine.

The UOC asserts this is not the reality and claims that the government still needs to provide papers to support its claim. From a larger perspective, Kyiv is also accusing the UOC, the second-largest Orthodox Church in Ukraine, of retaining relations with the Russian Orthodox Church, which has supported Moscow's invasion of its neighboring country.

According to the UOC, all ties with the Russian Church were severed in May 2022, approximately three months after Russia's invasion. Wion reported that when snowflakes fell all around them, the gathering assembled in one of the churches at the Lavra on Wednesday morning, Mar. 29, overflowed into an outdoor courtyard. In order to participate in the service, one UOC priest named Father Rustik revealed that he had traveled a distance of several hundred kilometers from the Dnipropetrovsk region.

"I believe that the monks here are being unlawfully expelled, and the property and churches for which we worked many years are being taken away," he added.

In addition, around 50 clergy members of the UOC have been detained by the Ukrainian government on various charges, including treason and collusion with Russia. The UOC continues to assert that the allegations are without foundation.

Also Read:Patriarch Kirill of Russian Orthodox Church Asks Religious Leaders to Prevent Forced Closure of Ukrainian Orthodox Church

Protest of Ukrainian Orthodox Church's Bishops Against Eviction from Kyiv Headquarters

Concerns about the coming years of the spiritual and administrative core of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), which has historically been associated with the Moscow Patriarchate (MP), have been reduced, Le Monde reported.

There is now less cause for concern regarding the immediate future of the spiritual and administrative center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), which has traditionally been associated with the Moscow Patriarchate (MP). The Orthodox monks of this church, accused of having ties with the Kremlin, eventually chose not to leave the Ukrainian government-owned Lavra monastery cave complex in Kyiv on Wednesday, Mar. 29, the deadline for an eviction notice issued by authorities in Kyiv. Instead, they decided to engage in a legal battle. Midway through March, the government agency overseeing the holiest Orthodox site in Ukraine informed the UOC-MP that it would be terminating its lease due to "violations [of rules] in the use of state property." This allegation is contested by the bishops, who refer to it as a pretext.

According to Christianity Daily, to stop the historically Russian-aligned section of the Orthodox Church from being ejected from its headquarters in Kyiv, eight bishops draped in robes and miters traveled to the offices of the Ukrainian president. Unfortunately, they could only get as far as a checkpoint before being ordered to turn around. Their request for a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Monday, Mar. 27, was denied. 

Related Article: 8 Bishops of Orthodox Church Protest its Eviction from Kyiv Headquarters