New acting abbot of Kyiv's Caves Monastery: the brethren are praying for Zelenskyy, and Metropolitan Pavlo's curses will come back to haunt him
Archimandrite Avraamii of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the acting Abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves), has said that the brethren are praying for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and that the "curses" of the Lavra’s former abbot, Metropolitan Pavlo, will come back to haunt him.
Source: a video address by Archimandrite Avraamii on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church website
Details: The Ukrainian Orthodox Church said on its website that Archimandrite Avraamii "has refuted the effectiveness of the ‘curses’ issued by the Lavra’s former abbot".
Quote from Archimandrite Avraamii: "As Acting Abbot of the Lavra, I am deeply outraged by the statements and actions of our former leader. Does he not realise that unjust curses will return to the one who utters them? He is the one to blame for the tears shed by our brethren that he talks about. And all the curses he levels at the president and all those who disagree with him [i.e. with Metropolitan Pavlo – ed.] are in fact coming back to him, because the Scripture says that they will be heaped like burning coals upon his head.
Having assumed the responsibility over the Lavra which has been bestowed on me by His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphanius, I want to declare before everyone that the former abbot’s curses are groundless and unjust.
I assure our president that the Lavra’s brethren are praying and will continue praying for the head of our state, as the Word of God commands us to do. We bless you, Volodymyr Oleksandrovych [Zelenskyy], in your fight against the aggressor, against the false ‘Russian world’ which has brought war and death to our people. [‘Russkiy mir’, literally ’Russian world’ or ‘Russian order’, is the concept of the total domination of Russian culture over other cultures; it gives rise to and ‘legitimises’ Russia’s current expansionist, colonial politics – ed.] We are praying for your family and everyone who is working alongside you to ensure the victory over the enemy of peace."
More details: Archimandrite Avraamii stressed that the events that have unfolded in the Lavra over the course of the past several weeks are not a "confrontation of the state and religion" and not a "violation of freedom", but rather a "liberation of our shrine from the influence of the hostile Russian state".
"We have endured for a long time, for the sake of the Lavra’s shrines and relics, for the sake of being able to pray next to our Pechersk elders. We could not conceive of an alternative. But now the new canonical reality in which a Local Church [the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – ed.] has been recognised, and the decision of the Ukrainian state, allow us to make a choice. And I have made mine," Archimandrite Avraamii concluded.
Previously: Metropolitan Pavlo, the former abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves), declared that "God will not forgive" Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for evicting the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) from the Lavra.
Archimandrite Avraamii (Lotysh), formerly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), joined the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) and asked Metropolitan Epiphanius to appoint him acting Abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. Metropolitan Epiphanius agreed. Metropolitan Onufriy of the UOC-MP banned Archimandrite Avraamii from the ministry for going over to the OCU.
In March 2023, the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra National Reserve terminated the agreement with the UOC-MP on the free use of the monastery in Kyiv. The monks were supposed to leave the monastery and all its buildings on 29 March.
Metropolitan Epiphanius of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine has said that the monastery on the territory of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra will not be closed, and the language of services will be Old Church Slavonic, along with modern Ukrainian.
The Kyiv Commercial Court dismissed the lawsuit brought by the UOC-MP against the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra National Reserve. Abbot Pavlo had declared that UOC-MP clergy would not leave the territory of the Lavra until the court had handed down a judgement.
On 1 April, Pavlo (Lebid) was served with a notice of suspicion under two articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine: Art. 161 (infringement of the equal rights of citizens based on their race, ethnic origin, religious beliefs, disability and other grounds) and Art. 436 (justification, recognition as legitimate, or denial of the Russian Federation’s armed aggression against Ukraine, or glorification of its participants).
The court hearing has been postponed to Monday, 3 April.
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