UOC bishop: Authorities hope people defending Lavra to get tired and leave
According to Archbishop Silvester, many believers are determined to defend the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra even if the clergy leave it.
The Ukrainian authorities hope that the believers, who now participate in the daily prayer standing at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, will get tired and disperse. Archbishop Silvester of Bilohorodka, the rector of the Kyiv Theological Academy and Seminary, said this during a video conference with Greek journalists.
"Such a picture, which the Lavra has now, is not needed by the authorities," noted the archbishop. “They expect that gradually the people will get tired or summer will start and many people will leave – thus, people who gather near the Lavra will gradually disperse. Plus, of course, there is a well-known method – different formats of intimidation.”
According to him, the police are now handing out summonses with which "particularly active priests and Orthodox activists are summoned to court as witnesses on the issue of resistance to the work of the commission of the Ministry of Culture for the seizure of the Lavra. However, according to Ukrainian law, it is easy enough to reclassify the status of a witness to that of a defendant.
In addition, the rector did not rule out that activists, including the KDAiS students, may soon be served with summonses to the military enlistment office as well.
Despite this, the rector notes, many believers are determined to defend the shrine even if the clergy leave it.
"Our people believe that this is an opportunity for them to confess their faith in the way that every Christian has read about it in the lives of martyrs and new martyrs. I had a conversation with the parishioners of one of the churches when the parishioners told me bluntly, 'If you leave the Lavra, we will not give up the Lavra ourselves. This is really a people's movement," stressed the archbishop.
As reported, the hierarch of the Jerusalem Patriarchate, the exarch of the Holy Sepulchre in Cyprus Metropolitan Timothy, said that the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra and every parish of the UOC, which "resists the imposed new church orders, is turning into Calvary".