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    Ternopil authorities to initiate Pochaiv Lavra handover to OCU

    The head of the Ternopil State Regional Administration, Mykhailo Holovko, said a special group was kicking off its work to study the legality of the use of the Pochaiv Lavra by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (in unity with the Moscow Patriarchate). Also, at the Council’s next session, officials will appeal for the immediate transfer of the Pochaiv Lavra to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

    This was announced by the press service of the Ternopil Regional Council.

    The Ternopil Regional Council also noted that the team will include representatives of the Regional State Administration, Prosecutor’s Office, judiciary, National Police, State Geocadaster Department, and local self-government bodies.

    “While historical justice is being gradually restored in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, many questions arise around the Pochaiv Lavra,” Holovko said. “I inform you that on Friday, January 27, I ordered that a working group be created to study the legality of the use of the set of buildings within the Pochaiv Holy Dormition Lavra.”

    The head of the Ternopil Regional Council says that at the next meeting of the session, an appeal for the immediate transfer of the complex of buildings to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

    “While liberating the country from criminals on the battlefield, we must also take care of liberating it from the spiritual yoke. The first step is the banning of the Moscow church on the territory of Ukraine and the return of all shrines illegally possessed by Kremlin agents. Moscow priests must withdraw from all Ukrainian shrines!” assured Mykhailo Golovko.

    Pochaiv Lavra. Details

    The Pochaiv Lavra was leased to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (in unity with the Moscow Patriarchate) back in 2003. The lease agreement was concluded for 49 years. It is valid until 2052.

    The Pochaiv Assumption Lavra in Kremenets region is the second largest Orthodox shrine in Ukraine after the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. The Pochaiv Lavra complex includes 18 buildings.

    At the end of last year, deputies of the Ternopil Regional Council appealed to the government to terminate the lease deal early.

    As reported in the mass media, the Ternopil Regional Council invited Metropolitan Epifaniy to hold the same historical service in the Pochaiv Lavra as he did in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.

    Also, Ukrainians are collecting signatures on the termination of the lease agreement of the Pochaiv Lavra with the UOC (MP).

    Also, deputy of the Pochaiv City Council, Taras Palianytsia, stated that the lease agreement for the Pochaiv Lavra is null and void.

    “I dealt with this situation even before the Tomos was granted to Ukraine in the fall of 2018. In order to address the nuances of the lease, there was a lack of political will of the leadership – both of the region and the state, I think so. There was little interest in this matter then. In fact, then I received an extract from the state register, which stated that the contract for the lease of the Pochaiv Lavra was concluded until 2052,” Palianytsia recalls, adding that the contract has been concluded with violations seen even to a novice lawyer.

    The Pochaiv Lavra is the property of the state, Deputy Minister of Culture Kateryna Chuyeva said. According to her, specialists should study the possibility of early termination of the lease agreement.

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