"OPPOSITION BLOC" CONDEMNS KIEV COUNCIL'S CONSIDERATION OF PETITION CONCERNING LAVRA
RIA Novosti, 10 December 2015
The Ukrainian "Opposition Bloc" spoke out against the consideration by the Kiev city council of a petition concerning the transfer of the Kiev caves lavra from the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow patriarchate (UPTsMP) into the administration of the UPTs of the Kiev patriarchate, a statement published Thursday on the website of the party says.
On Wednesday, an electronic civil petition posted on Monday on the website of the Kiev city hall suggesting the transfer of the Kiev caves lavra from the jurisdiction of the Moscow patriarchate into the administration of the Kiev patriarchate collected the necessary number of signatures and was taken under consideration by the Kiev city council.
"The 'Opposition Bloc' protests against the Kiev city council's considering the petition regarding the transfer of the Kiev caves lavra from the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church into the jurisdiction of the UPTs of the Kiev patriarchate," the statement says. In the party's opinion, the church's problem should be resolved by a general council of confessions (churches) and "not by the street, egged on by irresponsible politicians."
"Our position is unambiguous: politicians, bureaucrats, and officials of any level should not interfere in matters of church life. This accords with the constitution, the laws of Ukraine, and human morality," the Opposition Bloc thinks.
At the present time, there operate in Ukraine the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is a self-administered church that is a part of the Moscow patriarchate, and the UPTsKP and Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAPTs) that are church structures that are not recognized by world Orthodoxy. At the same time, the UPTsMP frequently has reported incidents of harassment of clergymen and seizures of Orthodox churches by representatives of the UPTsKP.
The head of the press service of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow patriarchate, Vasily Anisimov, told RIA Novosti previously that the transfer of the Dormition Kiev caves lavra into the jurisdiction of the schismatic Kiev patriarchate is impossible within the bounds of current Ukrainian legislation and the very idea of such a transfer is absurd. He said that such an initiative is comparable to the idea "of transferring the Kremlin to the American State Department or the Russian Orthodox Church into any other local church." The UPTsMP press secretary hopes that Kievan authorities have sufficient common sense not to take the petition seriously.
The Kiev caves lavra is one of the first monasteries in Rus, in terms of date of founding, and is in essence the cradle of ancient Russian monasticism. From it came the Studion rule and form of eremitic monastic life. In the modern Orthodox world, the Kiev caves lavra is named third after Jerusalem and the Holy Mount Athos in Greece. In 1990 the monastery ensemble was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. (tr. by PDS, posted 12 December 2015)
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