Zelenskyy: We won't leave any opportunity for the Russian Federation to destroy Lavras and steal their valuables
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasised that the authorities will not allow Russia to destroy Ukrainian Lavras or steal its valuables.
Source: President's evening address
Quote: "This week there is also a movement to strengthen our spiritual independence. Society sees this. And I see the approval of Ukrainians for these steps, which are quite legitimate. And we will continue this movement.
We will not allow the terrorist state to have any opportunity to manipulate the spirituality of our people, to destroy Ukrainian shrines - our Lavras - or to steal any valuables from them."
Previously: On 11 March, the Minister of Culture and Information Policy, Oleksandr Tkachenko, warned representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) (UOC MP) about criminal liability in case of moving museum exhibits, including relics of saints, from the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra to another place.
On 10 March, the National Reserve Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra informed the UOC MP monastery that from 29 March 2023, the 10-year-old agreement (from 19 July 2013) on the free use of religious buildings and other state-owned property will be terminated.
The warning referred to the demand to vacate the buildings at Lavrska 11 and Lavrska 15 in Kyiv.
The UOC MP stated that there are no legal grounds for this and that the eviction of its men's monastery from the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra is just "a whim of officials from the Ministry of Culture."
Oleksandr Tkachenko emphasised that the monks and priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate must leave all premises of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra by the end of March.
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