The speech of His Eminence, Metropolitan Pavel – Abbot of the Holy Dormition Kiev Caves Lavra on 29th March: the day on which the persecuting government set for the withdrawal or eviction of the sacred brotherhood who rebuilt the monastery from ruins and rubble.
Persecution is a daily reality, and the age of the martyrs and confessors has returned.
“ We, dear brothers and sisters, are at the baptismal font of Holy Rus, a 1000 year old place, where we still are in communion with those who inhabit Heaven, with the testimony of their Holy Relics abiding in this greatest holy place.
The first martyrs here were Ioann and Fyodor, his father, the Varangian Christians who were sacrificed to the idols. Then martyrs Theodor, Lukian, Vasiliy and others who are resting in this sacred place. The last martyr – hieromartyr Vladimir who was fighting the godless authorities, renovationism and all those passions and sins devouring our Fatherland.
Today unfortunately history is repeated. Instead of uniting people around defending the country we (the country) are killing our own, driving them out of our sacred places, OUR holy places, built by OUR people, built by ourselves. I testify of that as a person who knows, who built many churches. We are interceding before all the saints so they would not abandon us, and the faithful.
“Again Herodias is raving, again she is dancing and again she is trying to have John the Baptist beheaded by Herod. Again Jezebel is going around trying to seize the vineyard of Naboth and chase Elijah into the hills”- for this sermon the Holy Hierarch was sent into exile.
Today these kinds of things are happening in our country. Today we received correspondence from the director of the “ museum” signed by the minister of culture informing us we are being evicted from this place of 1000 years of prayer. I want to warn the President and all his gang- our tears will not fall onto the ground but they will fall on your head to your woe.
Today you think that having climbed to power on our backs and with our blessing you can treat us like this. God will not forgive you or your kin for this evil act – today two hundred and twenty monks are being made homeless; because you could not receive Metropolitan Onufriy with the Synod to hear him out; you could not control your Minister of Culture consumed by the spirit of godlessness an demonic hate towards us. Therefore, he acts with your permission. Woe to you!
We informed the above mentioned authorities that we will not leave the Lavra until the decision of the Court. We have turned to all the Ukrainian courts with all our documents, but now the third judge has declined our case, because the pressure on the judges to expel us from the Lavra is too great.
Today we are appealing to the United Nations, to UNESCO and other human rights organisations. We are appealing to the other churches to pray for us so truth would win.
We know that Truth is crucified in the world. When the Hieromartyr Petro Polyansky was judged by a “ troika” tribunal, one of the three said: “ Ours is the truth, we are finishing with you, priests, we have won” to which Fr Petro replied-“ You are right, yours is the TIME, the time of lies, untruth and deceit.
There is also another Judgement- the Judgement of Christ. You will not win that trial because Christ the Judge and Defender never makes mistakes.
Mr President and you Cabinet – woe to you! We are not the enemies of Ukraine. We are not bandits or “ the fifth column”, we are citizens of our country. You came to us in your election campaign, you asked for the blessing from Metropolitan Onufriy to win this election. And today, as president, you could not even receive and hear out the elderly hierarch who represents millions of your citizens.
We have seen the lawlessness that has happened in Ivano-Frankivsk Region. In the city the last cathedral has been taken away. The cathedral which the Lavra rebuilt. Tear gas with pepper spray….they shut the doors and smoked people out like rats…have a look at the videos- get closer to your people.
We saw what the state police has been doing in the region of Vinnitsa- a priest serving the sacrament of anointing with oil, was beaten by the police, and dragged through the church. Those who take the sword will perish by the sword.
A word about us to the international community- we preach love, overcoming of hatred, patience, we support the human rights…so what is this eviction about? How can we trust or believe our authorities? We ask and demand justice but not only for ourselves, but for our Holy Church ( the people)
I address the police. You are coming for us on the 30th, but be mindful people. Do not carry out instructions of the mad tormentors. The synod of so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine already said they will be serving the Feast of the Annunciation in the Lower church in the Lavra. They also had the plan of taking the Pochaev Lavra approved. And now, dear brothers and sisters, look at this so called New Church in Ukraine, which deprives people of the real sacraments, which acts by bullying, which takes away salvation from people. Whose supporters take away churches by force and then don’t attend. There is a saying “Сам не гам- та иншому не дам» describing this.
The tears of the monks will also fall on someone else – Patriarch Bartholomew, who is doing lawlessness in Ukraine today. I don’t understand the man- he is 80 years old, soon he will be standing at the judgement seat of Christ…does he think himself immortal.
Having lost a lot of his folk he is today stealing sheep from someone else’s yard. Woe to you and shame on you, because all that is happening today is with your miserable and deceitful blessing.
I am addressing you, dear brothers and sisters with a plea, please come to the services to support us all as the journalists of the Rada told us that disorder may happen on the 30th and the 31st of March.
We call on you not to respond to haters with hate. We ask you to be faithful to the Holy Mother Church. We know that even if we have to leave we will come back. Khrushchev promised that by 1970 he will show the last priest on TV but how mistaken he was.
The Church was resurrected and he is probably enduring the torments of hell. On the 10th of March 1961 the Lavra was shut by him. In 1988 in the Soviet Union the Lavra opened again and the faithful monks returned, making more disciples. Sixty two years later, the grandchildren of the persecutors of the Church come again to shut us down. The desires of the world and the passions are winning over you. Think of it now, because you will have to give answer for everything.
Dear pilgrims, brothers and sisters, who came to us for spiritual renewal and the blessing from the saints- again, we are enduring times of persecution, by the people who are casting out the Mother of God herself, who said to the Greek architects “ I want to dwell in the city of Kiev”.
She provided the funds for the building of the Holy Dormition cathedral and She appeared in an uncreated icon of the Dormition of the Mother of God.
The presence of the Mother of God is the highest treasure for the monastics. The Monk Alipiy, with the other iconographers, frescoed the wonderful church. The church was desolated and deconsecrated several times and destroyed by the bolsheviks. It was fully rebuilt by the brethren and the small donation from the government in 2000. With many tears of people who prayed and donated so they would see the church rebuilt before they died.
Since then, the brothers have invested everything into the interior decor, the royal doors, the icons over the last 22 years.
This church was taken away from us. You saw the darkened crosses since it happened, you saw darkened icons…people are probably working on the destruction of the Holy places.
Why do I say this? Because I read and hear threats in the internet, on the news…yesterday I went to the passport office because my passport is lost or has been stolen, but the news has started spreading lies that I am emigrating, abandoning my brethren. This is how slander works.
I will not leave unless I have to bury everyone of you.
Today I am addressing all countries which have protection of human rights observed, I am addressing the faithful, of whom some say this is coming to us for our sins. Maybe it is better for all of us to look deeper into our hearts and look closely at our own lives and our sins?
The minister of culture said in public this is for the sins for the Ukrainian Church. If you decided to pronounce a verdict on us without an epitrachil, maybe you can ask yourself if your wife could have died because of your sins? Maybe you can take the plank out of your eye instead of seeing the specks in the eyes of our brothers, martyrs and confessors?
We never thought that in the 21st century we would be oppressed by our own people. But if we read the elders who prophesied in Stalin’s times about the times of Khrushchev, about our times, we are awe-struck at how they saw what would happen?
Dear Rulers, what has the Church done to you? Or maybe you are running away from your conscience? None of us is going to avoid the judgement of God, not a single person.
Again, dear Brothers and Sisters, please, I beg you, pray for us, for me, because I as an abbot have a very heavy heart.
Yesterday the security services had their meeting with me and they I said, “I am not compromising.” If I have to give my life for Christ, for the Church, then I have to. There can be no compromises with God. And you are temporary. Like dew in the sun you will evaporate. Again and again I say, those who raise the sword shall perish by it.
I am addressing those people who slander us. We do not have the Moscow Church here. Our church is Christ’s Church. We do not sing songs or poems hate against anyone, we exist to praise Christ and his Mother. We wish everyone peace and health, at the time when the enemies are attacking our country from all sides.
Instead of being grateful for the prayer that is ascending to God, here you are killing our priests! Some of you said- when we are finished dealing with the Lavra we will sort out the womens monastery of the Protection of the Mother of God.
“Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned” ( Psalm 33)