Moscow, May 24, Interfax - The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has described the decision of the non-canonic Orthodox church of Ukraine's synod to change the jurisdiction of the Kiev Lavra of the Caves as looting.
On Monday, the synod of OCU approved the establishment of the Kiev Lavra of the Caves of the Holy Assumption monastery and decided to ask the government to transfer the church of the Upper Lavra and some of its premises to OCU for worship and monastic activities.
"The practice of the establishment of same-name parallel church institutions began under Filaret [Denisenko] as a form of hostile takeover of the property of religious communities," the legal affairs service of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said on Tuesday.
The efforts of believers and Lavra monks since the 1990s have restored churches, monastic cells and activities in the Kiev Lavra of the Caves, the service said, adding that the church life in the Lavra was continuing nowadays.
The service noted that, according to official statistics, the Orthodox church of Ukraine was operating 79 monasteries with 233 monks, or fewer than three monks per monastery, as of January 1, 2021. "This information proves that the "OCU" does not need additional monasteries due to its lack of prospective monks, while the overwhelming majority of monasteries of the "OCU" exist only on paper," it said.
Therefore, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church described the decision of the OCU synod to establish a monastery on the premises of the Kiev Lavra of the Caves as "yet another attempt to create an artificial monastery that does not aim to organize [a new location for] monastic life, but poses a potential threat of religious discord."