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    After UOC (MP) eviction from Lavra, question of its future to arise – BBC journo

    After the UOC (MP) leaves the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, the question of the future of this religious organization will arise as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) is highly likely to actually withdraw from the site.

    The issue was raised by Sviatoslav Khomenko, a BBC correspondent.

    “Whether or not they will delegate representatives to the commission for the acceptance and transfer of state property (the premises would be transferred without them anyway), whether or not it will organize a prayer stand or a cross procession against the government’s decision (especially given that mass rallies are prohibited during martial law), or whether or not they will appeal to the Western human rights institutes (an appeal to Moscow will only worsen the situation of the church), in three weeks, most likely, the UOC will leave the Lavra. And another issue will be put on the agenda – the one of the future of this church in general,” says the BBC analysis.

    According to Khomenko, the content of the letter, received by the governor of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra on the morning of March 10, can be summarized briefly as follows: the monks have less than three weeks to pack their stuff and move… elsewhere.

    The journalist recalled that the UOC (MP) had been using the ancient premises of the Lavra based on a lease agreement concluded under President Viktor Yanukovych in 2013. Under the incumbent president, Volodymyr Zelensky, it turned out that the monastery violates the terms of this contract. And this means that the state has the right to sever it.

    “But, of course, in reality, everything is much more complicated. Despite all its efforts to distance itself from the Russian Church, the UOC is still associated by many Ukrainians with Moscow. And most importantly, this association clearly works in Zelensky’s mind. And here it is necessary to understand: over the last year, Volodymyr Zelensky and all of Ukraine have come a long way, if it comes to their attitude towards Russia, Russians, anything Russian, anything that resembles Russian,” the journalist notes.

    He added that today – given tens of thousands of victims, after Mariupol, after the bombing of schools and hospitals, after a cold and dark winter – President Zelensky’s mood is different than a year ago.

    “The expulsion of the UOC monastery from the Lavra, unfathomable even a year ago (Why would it be necessary? Isn’t this a violation of religious rights and freedoms? Wouldn’t  Putin escalate because of this?), today will be lost against the background of the news from the almost sieged Bakhmut and the dismounting of the rubble of yet another residential building destroyed by a Russian missile. Therefore, the fate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the Lavra seems to be decided in advance,” Khomenko notes.

    It should be recalled that the Minister of Culture Tkachenko announced that the contract with the UOC (MP) was terminated due to violation of the terms of use of state property.

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