MOSCOW, October 30. /TASS/. The legitimate transfer of the historic Kiev-Pechersk Lavra (the Monastery of the Caves), which is owned by the Ukrainian state, to breakaway factions is impossible, Father Superior of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl, told reporters on Tuesday.
"In conformity with Ukraine’s laws, the transfer (to the schismatic Kiev Patriarchate - TASS) is impossible, but transgressors can do anything," said the metropolitan who arrived in Moscow to take part in the Faith and Word festival of Orthodox media.
According to the metropolitan, currently there is a long-term lease agreement. "It is not extended, if we do not preserve a monument and do not comply with everything that is written in the lease agreement," he explained. "Today, we do not just comply with everything. We also adorn [these monuments] because many destroyed churches have been and are being restored with believers’ and philanthropists’ money."
Ukraine’s church crisis
The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided at its meeting held on October 9-11 to proceed with granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church. It revoked the 1686 decision on transferring the Kiev Metropolitanate under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate and announced plans to bring it back under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It also reinstated the heads of two non-canonical churches in Ukraine, Filaret of the Kiev Patriarchate and Makariy of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, to their hierarchical and priestly ranks.
On October 15, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said in response to that move that full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople was no longer possible.
Head of the self-proclaimed Kiev Patriarchate Filaret has said on numerous occasions that if the Ukrainian Church was granted autocephalous status, the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra would have to be transferred to that breakaway church.