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Ukraine. Metropolitan Paweł, the head of the Pechersk Lavra, will be arrested for a month

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A Ukrainian court decided on Friday to transfer the head of the Pechersk Lavra, the Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, from house arrest to detention on suspicion of inciting religious hatred and justifying Russian aggression.

The court decided to change the preventive measure to detention until August 14. The clergyman may also be released after paying a bail of over 33 million hryvnias (over 3.5 million zlotys).

In early April, a court in Kiev imposed two months of 24-hour house arrest on Paweł on suspicion of inciting religious hatred and justifying Russian aggression. The priest was also banned from communicating with the faithful.

Pechersk LavraShutterstock

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Metropolitan Paweł: I have never been on the side of aggression

As Suspilne writes on Friday, the preventive measure was changed because the metropolitan spoke with one of the witnesses in the criminal case, thus breaking the ban imposed on him by the court.

In the courtroom, Paweł stated that he “was never on the side of aggression”. The Security Service Ukraine (SBU) assured that it had gathered evidence that the head of the Lavra incited religious hatred, justified and denied the Russian armed aggression.

Vladimir Putin and Metropolitan Pavel kremlin.ru

The SBU published excerpts from Paul’s telephone conversations and homilies. According to the Ukrainian services, during his public appearances, the clergyman repeatedly offended the religious feelings of Ukrainians, spoke contemptuously about the views of people of other faiths and tried to arouse hostile sentiments towards them. His statements were also seen as justifying and denying the Russian invasion.

Kyiv took over the Pechersk Lavra

The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture officially took over the Pechersk Lavra from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UCP) associated with the Moscow Patriarchate, deciding not to renew the temple’s lease contract. So far, the UCP, which in May 2022 deleted the term “Moscow Patriarchate” from its name, was the only one to use religious facilities in the Lavra, leasing them from the state. This was due to the fact that after the collapse of the USSR, when religious buildings, including the Lavra, were given to the faithful, the Orthodox Church associated with Moscow was the only Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the UCP stopped referring to the Moscow Patriarchate in its name and made many gestures of distancing itself from Moscow. Nevertheless, many hierarchs and clergy still feel attached to the Russian Church. The latter openly supports the war against Ukraine.

Main photo source: kremlin.ru

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