Ukraine: Petition to transfer the Pochayiv Lavra to the OCU

. : Ukraine

The petition, which proposes to return the Pochayiv Lavra to the Ukrainian Church, was posted on October 21 on the website of the Cabinet of Ministers. Its author Vasyl Boyko suggests that the Pochayiv Lavra should be transferred to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine for use. Instead, the lease agreement with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate should be terminated, the author of the petition believes. As of October 28, the petition was signed by 102 people out of the 25,000 required. There are 83 days left until the end of collecting signatures.

"The Pochayiv Lavra has been one of the greatest shrines of the Ukrainian people for a thousand years.

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) is an Autocephalous Orthodox Church on the territory of Ukraine, the fifteenth in the diptych. The Church of Constantinople considers the OCU to be the only canonical legal successor of the Kyivan Metropolia.

The OCU was formed as a result of the unification of three Ukrainian Orthodox churches: the UOC-KP, the UAOC and the UOC-MP.

It is quite fair that the spiritual shrine should be used by an Orthodox denomination that is recognized by the Orthodox world as an Autocephalous Orthodox Church on the territory of Ukraine.

In turn, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is not an Autocephalous Orthodox Church on the territory of Ukraine. Also, high church hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate have been repeatedly caught in statements and actions directed against the Ukrainian people.

That said, the use of the Pochayiv Lavra by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate should be terminated by terminating the lease agreement and transferred to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU).

In November 2008, Metropolitan Onufriy publicly stated that the Holodomor of the 1930s was "deserved" by the Ukrainian people themselves: "the Holodomor was a lesson, taming of our pride by the Lord."

On August 5, 2014, the interim head of the UOC-MP, Metropolitan Onufriy, in an interview with his own press service, condemned the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) in the Donbas, and also refused to recognize the involvement of the leadership of the Russian Federation in the destabilization of the situation in eastern Ukraine. The clergyman calls Russian mercenary terrorists nothing more than" our co-religionists and brothers", and the anti-terrorist operation is "fraternal bloodshed". Ukrainian servicemen, according to Onufriy, do not defend their homeland, but act in the "interests of the West.

On May 8, 2015, at a solemn meeting of the Verkhovna Rada, the leadership of the UOC-MP, led by the Primate of the Church Onufriy, did not want to get up during the celebration of the ATO fighters in the Rada, when President Petro Poroshenko read out the names of the heroes of Ukraine who received this title during the anti-terrorist operation; even foreigners rose up.

On March 18, 2016, Crimea celebrated the "day of reunification of Crimea with Russia". On behalf of the UOC-MP, archpriest Serhiy Khalyuta, dean of the Sevastopol District of the Crimean diocese, took part in the celebrations.

In early 2018, Fr Yevhen Molchanov the UOC-MP refused to hold a funeral service for the deceased one-year-old child, who was baptized in the Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, as, according to him, in this case, the child was considered unbaptized.

SBU has initiated an investigation on this ground. The Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine has launched a pre-trial investigation against certain representatives of the Diocese of Zaporizhia, UOC-MP, and the organization Radomir Orthodox Union.

On January 11, 2018, the SBU conducted searches at the "combat wing" of the Diocese of Zaporizhia, UOC-MP: NGO "Orthodox Union "Radomir", during which it seized unregistered automatic firearms and edged weapons, a significant amount of ammunition, medals "Patriot of Russia", pro-Russian symbols of the specified organization, printouts with anti-Ukrainian content.

On January 12, 2018, Hero of Ukraine Major General of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Ihor Gordiychuk said that in the Svyatogorsk Lavra, the clergymen of the UOC-MP from the very beginning of the Russian armed aggression hid weapons and more than 100 terrorists: a Chechen Special Forces detachment and Kadyrov's militants.

On January 13, the Russian occupation forces in Sevastopol put the S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft missile systems on combat duty, arranging a solemn consecration ritual conducted by clergy of the UOC-MP in Crimea near Cape Fiolent.

On June 28, 2018, Metropolitan Lazar (Shvets) of the UOC of Simferopol and Crimea celebrated a prayer service for Russian troops, recognizing Russia as "Our Homeland" and "a great maritime power". The prayer service was attended by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and other high-ranking Russian officials. They celebrated together in Sevastopol the day of the baptism of Rus, and later the day of the Russian Navy.

In June 2019, dozens of men who were heading to the Pochaev Lavra with participants of the cross procession of the UOC-MP were all dressed in black T-shirts, that featured inscriptions calling to get ready for war; these were distributed to pilgrims by the organizers-representatives of the Diocese of Kamyanets-Podilsky of the UOC-MP.

In August 2019, with the blessing of Metropolitan Serhiy of Ternopil and Kremenets, tourist and pilgrimage trips to the occupied Crimea were organized in the Ternopil region. Priests of the Russian Orthodox Church set to revive the tourism business in Crimea, which declined after the Russian occupation. In addition to visiting Orthodox churches and monasteries in Crimea, believers are also offered to relax by the sea. The respective advertisements about" pilgrimage to Crimea" were placed near the churches of the UOC-MP in the Ternopil region.

On September 8, 2019, militants solemnly unveiled a bust of Russian Emperor Nicholas II on the territory of an unfinished church in honor of the Holy Royal Martyrs, located in the village of Hirnyak in temporarily occupied Donetsk. Metropolitan Hilarion of Donetsk and Mariupol of the UOC-MP also contributed to the installation of the bust of the Russian emperor.

On September 10, 2019, Czech President Milos Zeman received a delegation of seven people in Prague Castle, who, according to them, "represent the interests of Rusyns who seek autonomy within Ukraine." The reception was symbolically timed to coincide with the centenary of the signing of the Treaty of Saint-Germain: on September 10, 1919, this international agreement confirmed the annexation of Subcarpathian Rus — now the territory of Transcarpathia-to Czechoslovakia. Member of the delegation also was a priest of the UOC-MP, Fr Dmytro Sidor, who previously received a suspended sentence for encroaching on the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

In October 2019, Metropolitan Luka of Zaporizhia, UOC-MP, and MP Vadim Novinsky campaigned for the "Steinmeier formula".

In December 2019, the editorial board of the newspaper "Krymskaya Svitlitsa" received a scanned copy of the cooperation agreement between the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and Metropolitan Lazar of Simferopol and Crimea dated April 2, 2015." (Quelle:, 28. Oktober 2020)