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Court denies Russian-controlled church access to Kyiv Pechersk Lavra

by Martin Fornusek June 13, 2023 6:02 PM 2 min read
Metropolitan Onufriy (C) arrives for the Sunday service of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) at a compound of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra on March 26, 2023, in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo by Roman Pilipey/Getty Images)
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The court rejected the request by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate  (UOC-MP) to hold services in the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra monastery, Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko said on June 13.

According to the minister, the decision was announced at a hearing of the Economic Court of the city of Kyiv.

"We have our first, and I believe not last, victory at court in the case of returning the property of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra to the state," Tkachenko wrote on Telegram.

He added that the UOC-MP's representatives did not come to the hearing and submitted motions for postponement, which the court rejected.

The Russian-controlled church's lease on the part of the Lavra, including the main Dormition Cathedral, expired on Jan. 1. The monastery was returned to the state ownership on Jan. 5 upon a recommendation by the Culture Ministry.

The Moscow Patriarchate clergy has repeatedly refused to vacate the premises and blocked access to the authorities.

The UOC-MP has faced backlash due to its long-standing ties to Russia, as well as Russian passports, anti-Ukrainian propaganda, and stolen icons during nationwide raids on its religious sites.

Metropolitan Pavlo (Petro Lebid), the UOC-MP's abbot of the Pechersk Lavra Monastery, was charged on April 1 with "inciting inter-religious hatred and justifying Russia's armed aggression" and put under house arrest.

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 2 – Why Ukraine is finally kicking out Russian church
“This Week in Ukraine” is a video podcast hosted by the Kyiv Independent’s reporter Anastasiia Lapatina. Every week, Anastasiia sits down with her newsroom colleagues to discuss Ukraine’s most pressing issues. Episode #2 is dedicated to Ukraine’s attempts to eradicate the influence of the Ukrainian…
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