Kiev, January 16, Interfax - The inspections conducted by the Ukrainian Culture Ministry and reports that valuable icons are missing from the lavra are aimed at discrediting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, and they constitute pressure on and interference by the state in church affairs, Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl, the locum tenens of the lavra, said.
"They have one question: to re-register or take the lavra away from us for the so-called church they have now organized. The state should not tell me where to go and how to treat the Church. Their goal now is to defame the Church. As they told me today, declare, speak, let the brothers decide if they want to join the Ukrainian church. I said they are fully in the 'Ukrainian —hurch' and they are fully subordinate to God," the metropolitan said at a briefing in Kiev.
Yury Boiko, a Ukrainian parliamentarian and the founder of Opposition Platform - For Life, said the current events are an offensive on "the Ukrainian canonical Church."
"They started with the Pochayev Lavra. [...] Then many clergymen from other regions were summoned to the SBU. And when they came here, to the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, they conducted an inspection and spread rumors that something was missing. All these things are a massive campaign to intimidate the clergy and believers," Boiko said.