watch us on facebook
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church will conduct a historic Christmas celebration in the previously Moscow Patriarchate-controlled Kyiv Pechersk Lavra on Jan. 7.
The Russian-controlled church’s lease on a part of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra — called the Upper Lavra — expired on Jan. 1, paving way for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church celebration.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) has been in hot water since Ukraine conducted nationwide raids on religious sites that belong to the Russian-controlled church – during which authorities say they have found Russian passports, anti-Ukrainian propaganda, and a stolen collection of icons.
Searches have also taken place at the Moscow Patriarchate-controlled Kyiv Pechersk Lavra.
Despite the UOC-MP's official statement declaring “independence” from the Russian Orthodox Church in May and “condemning the war,” the church’s agenda remains intertwined with its Moscow overlords, and they officially remain subordinated to the Russian church in the hierarchy of the Orthodox world.
On Dec. 1, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the start of a procedure to ban activities of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine. On Dec. 11, Zelensky signed a decree imposing sanctions on seven leaders of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.
On Dec. 2, the Ukrainian government registered a legal entity to manage the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra on behalf of the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Currently, the legal entity does not control any buildings of the Lavra. Still, its registration triggered speculation that a part or all of the monastery may be transferred to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.