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Patriarch of Moscow Asks for Pope’s Help Given the Expulsion of Russian Orthodox from An Important Monastery in Ukraine

Joachin Meisner Hertz

(ZENIT News / Moscow, 03.13.2023). The Patriarch of Moscow requested Pope Francis’ and UN Secretary General’s intervention after the Ukrainian Government decided not to continue entrusting him with control of an important and historic Monastery, located in the Capital. It was, moreover, the last enclosure faithful to Moscow in Ukrainian territory. 

At the end of 2022, the Ukrainian Government took over control of the grotto Monastery, located in the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra millennial complex. Subsequently it confided it to the Autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church — independent of the Orthodox Church of Moscow –, which Patriarch Kirill doesn’t recognize. 

According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture, the deadline for the Russian Orthodox to leave the Monastery is March 29. Already in early December 2022, President Zelensky promoted initiatives to ban the activities of Russian Orthodox in the Ukrainian territory. 

The Agreement that governed the use of the Monastery, in the center of Kiev, dates back to 2013, during the presidency of deposed President Viktor Yanukóvich; it did not have a specific deadline. The Monastery in question, located in the largest historic complex, was founded in 1051 and depended on the Ecumenical Patriarchy of Constantinople until 1688, when the Russian Orthodox annexed it.