The head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine said that the monastery in the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra will not close and those religious figures/monks who renounce Moscow's religious authority can continue to serve at the monastery.
In a March 18 statement, Metropolitan Epiphanius said that religious services will continue at the monastery, in Old Church Slavonic and modern Ukrainian.
Epiphanius called on Kyiv's religious figures to help throw off "Moscow's yoke," calling Moscow's religious authority in Ukraine "non-canonical" and pointed out that it's used to spin propaganda against Ukraine.
On March 10, the Ministry of Culture published a statement that monks of the Russian Orthodox Church's Ukrainian branch must leave the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, Ukraine's most important Orthodox monastery, by March 29. The Russian-controlled head of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, an Orthodox monastery, said on March 13 that he and other monks of the monastery had no intention of vacating the premises of the Lavra.
The Russian-controlled church's lease on a part of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra- called the Upper Lavra- expired on Jan. 1, and the Ukrainian government decided not to extend the lease. Later the Ukrainian authorities said they would also terminate the Russian-affiliated church's indefinite lease on the remaining part, the Lower Lavra, starting from March 29, accusing it of violating the terms of the lease.
The Russian-controlled church argued that the termination of the lease was illegal.
Since January, the Ukrainian government has allowed the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which is independent from Russia, to hold several church services in the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra.