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Kiev eradicating Orthodox culture on orders of Anglo-Saxons — Russian Foreign Ministry

Maria Zakharova underlines that the international community and relevant international religious organizations have been "disgracefully silent"

MOSCOW, August 18. /TASS/. The Ukrainian authorities are working to eradicate traditional Orthodox Christian culture on the orders of the Anglo-Saxons, which is driving their zealous persecution aimed at ousting the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) from its long-time presence in the historic Kiev-Pechersk Lavra monastery, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.

"By ousting the canonical church from its monastery, the Kiev regime is carrying out the Anglo-Saxons’ order to exterminate Orthodox culture. This is why the West continues to cynically dodge making any condemnation of the actions of their client. The international community and relevant [international religious] organizations have been disgracefully silent as well," she said.

She stressed that the Ukrainian authorities are continuing to wage war on the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. "On August 9, the Kiev Commercial Court upheld a claim filed by the [state-run] Kiev-Pechersk Lavra museum reserve against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) that banned the latter from using the Lavra’s property. [This ruling] enabled the Kiev regime to legitimize its hostile takeover of the monastery; on August 15, the police seized three monastery buildings," she went on to say. "After that, Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar cynically said that the Orthodox holy place will be turned into a rehabilitation center for Ukrainian militants."

The conflict surrounding the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, one of the first monasteries in ancient Rus and the oldest monastery in modern Ukraine, escalated in late March. The Ukrainian authorities unilaterally revoked the UOC’s lease to the Lavra premises and demanded that the monks vacate the monastery. The UOC monks refused, however, to comply with the illegal demands. Both sides then filed lawsuits.

Although the court has not pronounced its final verdict yet, the Ukrainian authorities have already begun to develop a strategy for the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra for the period 2023-2051. On July 1, the UOC received a letter from the Ministry of Culture demanding that its monks vacate five buildings within the Lavra complex by July 4. The UOC called such demands arbitrary. On July 4, the Ministry of Culture commission created to seal the buildings arrived at the Lavra, but UOC parishioners blocked their path and defended the premises.

The commission’s leadership filed a complaint with the police against the UOC parishioners and left the premises. None of the five buildings was sealed. Since July 5, the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra museum reserve has put time limits on the UOC parishioners’ access to the monastery located within the premises under its control. On the morning of July 6, with police protection the museum authorities began changing the locks and seizing the buildings. Three buildings, including the residence of the head of the UOC, were sealed off. On August 10, four more buildings, including hotel premises and church shops, were closed down.