Tensions on the rise at revered Kyiv monastery complex

by | Mar 27, 2023 | Religion

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The courtyards of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra have been busy with more than just the usual worshippers, going to and from its churches in the sprawling monastic complex that is Ukraine’s most revered Orthodox site.Also busy Friday were people in civilian clothes, loading cars with plasma televisions, furniture and other items from the buildings — helping the resident monks remove belongings of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, or UOC, before a threatened government eviction on March 29.
There also were police officers checking the cars to make sure no one was removing items that belong to the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra preserve, which oversees the complex.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is reverberating here in a struggle for control of the Lavra, known in English as the Monastery of the Caves. The complex contains church, monastic and museum buildings; its oldest parts date back to the dawn of Christianity here a millennium ago.
The dispute is part of a wider religious conflict playing out in parallel with the war.
The government of Ukraine has already been cracking down on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church over its historic ties to the Russian Orthodox Church, whose leader, Patriarch Kirill, has supported Russian President Vladimir Putin in the invasion of Ukraine.
The parliament is considering a “draft law on making it impossible to operate in Ukraine religious organizations affiliated with centers of influence in the Russian Federation” — which could impact the UOC, depending on how it’s interpreted.
The …

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