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War in Ukraine: monks loyal to Moscow ordered to leave an emblematic monastery in kyiv


The Ukrainian authorities have asked clerics of the Moscow-affiliated Orthodox Church to leave the Kyiv Caves Lavra.

Its golden bulbs have crowned the Ukrainian capital for almost ten centuries.

The lavra of the Caves of Kiev, “

the Mont-Saint-Michel of Orthodoxy

”, as presented by the historian of religions Jean-François Colosimo, is fiercely disputed.

This architectural complex founded in the 11th century, which extends over twenty hectares on the banks of the Dnieper, is home to one of the largest Ukrainian monastic communities, about 200 monks.

But they come under the Moscow Patriarchate, headed by Patriarch Kirill, a loyal supporter of

the “special military operation


To discover

  • Follow information on the war in Ukraine with the Figaro application

Read alsoWhy the conflict in Ukraine is also a religious war

In Ukraine, three communities of Byzantine rites coexist: the Greco-Catholics, linked to Rome since the 16th century, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (EOU), which has been autocephalous, that is to say independent, since 2019, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate (EOU-PM).

The latter, assigned to the kyiv Lavra, is suspected by the Ukrainian authorities of collusion with the Kremlin.

In May, under pressure, a synod proclaimed the independence of the EOU-PM from the Moscow Patriarchate.

But there are no instruments to measure these declarations

”, underlines the historian, director of the editions of Cerf.

Volodymyr Zelensky had announced, at the beginning of December, a bill which should limit the activity of religious organizations “


” with Russia, therefore of the EOU-PM, and prohibit the celebration of the Christmas mass in the cathedral by the clerics of the Moscow Patriarchate.

In addition, the Ukrainian security services (SBU) searched the lavra, increasing the pressure from the authorities.

On March 10, the Ministry of Culture, for “violation (of the rules) in the use of state property, terminates the lease and requests the departure of the monks before March 29.

The Faithful Abandon the Moscow Patriarchate

But on March 30, some still lived there and celebrated masses in front of several faithful.


Nobody is going to pull anyone by the feet, there will be no expulsion by force, everything will be done in accordance with



," said Oleksiï Danilov, secretary of the Ukrainian National Security Council on March 30.


It's a symbolic operation, which means that the representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate are now undesirable in Ukraine, because the Moscow Patriarchate supports Putin's war

," said Jean-François Colosimo.

Read alsoWar in Ukraine: the first French armored vehicles arrived “on a front line”


When Patriarch Bartholomew (Primate of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople, editor's note) proclaims the autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine, Moscow breaks communion with Constantinople

", explains the historian of religions.

Since 2019, priests and faithful, who until now came under the Moscow Patriarchate, join the Autocephalous Church.

But the transfer of places of worship is less obvious.

Sometimes it even goes as far as punches

,” says the specialist in religions.

This phenomenon, difficult to count, was accentuated with the Russian aggression.


Eventually, the patriarchate of Moscow will be declared persona non grata in Ukraine

," predicts Jean-François Colosimo.

The State helping the Autocephalous Church to seize the places of worship now assigned to the EOU-PM.

In war, agents of enemy power are enemies themselves.

If the faithful are there by custom, the hierarchs have all been appointed by Moscow

”, adds the expert for whom the war in Ukraine is also religious, Vladimir Putin wanting to take back Kiev, place of the baptism of Vladimir I, Prince of Kiev, in 988 whose conversion brought about the conversion of his people.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-03-31

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