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    Court snubs Moscow-controlled church’s claim in Lavra row

    The court in Kyiv refused to consider the lawsuit filed by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (in unity with the Moscow Patriarchate) against the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra Natural Reserve administration, in which clerics demanded that the termination of the deal on a free lease of Lavra premises be revoked.

    This was announced by Oleksandr Tkachenko, Ukraine’s Minister of Culture and Information Policy, Ukrinform reports.

    The text of the decision of the Commercial Court in Kyiv of March 28, 2023, states: “The application of the Holy Dormition Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra/Men’s Monastery/Ukrainian Orthodox Church to secure the claim in case No. 910/4552/23 shell be rejected.”

    The decision enters into force immediately. It can be appealed in a due manner.

    As Ukrinform reported earlier, the National Reserve Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra announced the termination of the lease agreement with the UOC (MP) on March 29, the day it expired.

    However, the vicar, Metropolitan Pavlo (UPC (MP)) stated that the monks did not intend to vacate the premises.

    In turn, Secretary of the National Security Council Oleksiy Danilov said that the eviction of UOC (MP) priests would take place in accordance with the laws of Ukraine, and that the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra would host religious services “according to the laws of our country, not of those artificial entities that had been once created here in huge numbers outside the legal framework for certain events.”

    Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine, in his address to the brothers of the Lavra and the public, stated that the issue of shutting down the monastery in the Lavra and stopping prayers, services, and monastic life in it was off the table.

    The majority of Ukrainians support the decision to evict the UOC (MP) from the Lavra. According to the opinion poll conducted by Active Group on March 4-10, more than 63% of Ukrainians expressed their support for the eviction of the monks of the Moscow Patriarchate from the churches in the territory of the Lavra.

    UOC(MP) never vacated the Lavra premises after the lease term for the use of temples expired on March 29.

    Over the recent month, law enforcement raided a number of dioceses run by the UOC (MP) as part of the inquiries into the activities of certain clerics who are suspected to have sided with the enemy forces to the detriment of Ukraine’s national security.

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