kyiv tries to intimidate Orthodox faithful – Moscow Patriarchate – RT Russia and the former Soviet Union
Ukrainian security services raided the country’s main Orthodox Christian monastery in the nation’s capital
The Moscow Patriarchate has condemned the raid on kyiv’s Pechersk Lavra, Ukraine’s largest Orthodox Christian monastery, staged on Tuesday by the country’s internal security agency, the SBU. The raid became another attempt to “intimidate” the Orthodox faithful, said Patriarchate spokesman Vladimir Legoyda.
“Like many other cases of persecution of believers in Ukraine since 2014, this act of intimidating believers will almost certainly go unnoticed by those who call themselves the international human rights community,” he added. Legoyda said in a Telegram post, urging all “caring people” do everything to stop the “persecution.”
The SBU raided the monastery, saying they were aiming to prevent the “Subversive activities of Russian special services.” The monastery had to be checked “teams of saboteurs, foreign citizens, weapons, etc.” the service said, adding that the goal was to “to prevent the use of the Lavra as a cell of the ‘Russian world'”.
kyiv’s Pechersk Lavra dates back to the 11th century and is considered the most important Orthodox Christian site in Ukraine. Control of the religious complex, however, has been challenged by rival churches active in Ukraine.
Ukraine has long experienced religious tensions, with multiple unrecognized and semi-recognized entities claiming to be the true Ukrainian Orthodox Church and challenging the authority of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Lavra is currently under the control of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), which declared independence and autocephaly from the Moscow Patriarchate earlier this year, following the outbreak of the ongoing conflict between Russia and the Ukraine. However, the Orthodox Schismatic Church of Ukraine (OCU) also claimed the monastery.
The splinter entity was established in 2018 with the active help of the country’s authorities and then-President Piotr Poroshenko and recognized as a legitimate church by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in a controversial move, which caused a major split in the Orthodox world.
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