Kyiv abbot placed under house arrest


Eastern Europe


Metropolitan Pavlo. Photo Ukrainian Orthodox Church

The Orthodox abbot of the Kyiv-Perchersk Lavra has been placed under house arrest. The District Court of Kyiv has decided this.

Metropolitan Pavlo of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC-MP) may not leave his house for 60 days, until May 30, Risu.ua reports, based on information from a Ukrinform correspondent. To ensure that he abides by the conditions of the verdict, the abbot has to wear an electronic bracelet.

Abbot Pavlo is accused of inciting hatred and justifying Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Katholisch.de writes. His house was searched on Saturday as the Ukrainian security services handed him a notice of suspicion.

Metropolian Pavlo denies all accusations. However, according to Katholisch.de, the abbot has been controversial for his pro-Russian messages for years already. The church as a whole, however, is openly pro-Ukrainian.


Kirill Alexandrov criticises the court verdict in a comment in SPHZ news. According to Alexandrov, chances are big that Metropolitan Pavlo will not get a fair trial. He argues that much evidence exists that the Ukrainian state is prejudiced regarding the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. For example, he points out that the case of a UOC priest who was attacked with a knife has not been dealt with by the police after four months, while Metropolitan Pavlo can be arrested so quickly.


The actions against the abbot of the Kyiv-Perchersk Lavra occur amidst the controversy around the monastery. The Ukrainian government recently ordered the monks of the UOC to leave the premises. Thus far, they have not done so, and UOC representatives filed a lawsuit to overthrow the government's decision.

However, the Kyiv Commercial Court now rejected their claim, Risu.ua reports. The Minister of Culture and Information Policy announced the decision, which is also documented in the court rulings, as reported by Ukrainska Pravda.

The judges justified their decision by pointing out that the "plaintiff was unable to prove or substantiate the claims that if the UOC was evicted from the Lavra, there was a threat of destruction or damage to the property, transfer to third parties in ownership and use, granting permits to other religious organisations to hold services and violation of the rights of Ukrainian citizens to freedom of religion and housing."


Ukrainian President Zelensky has not changed his view on his decision to on the Lavra, Religion.orf writes. According to Zelensky, the eviction of the UOC is "a step to strengthen the spiritual independence of our state, to protect our society from the old and cynical manipulation of religion by Moscow." He said so last Wednesday in a video message. At the same time, the President promised that he would uphold and defend religious freedom in Ukraine.



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