Kiev police patrol the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra
© SputnikKiev police patrol the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra
Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klitschko on Friday ordered the closure of 74 churches belonging to the canonical (UOC), citing its alleged "direct ties" to the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Klitschko's decree is similar to that used to seize the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, or Monastery of the Caves, which Ukrainian police stormed last month. The world-famous holy site, which is nearly 1,000 years old, was handed over to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, a rival organization set up by the government in 2018.

protest ukraine seize orthodox church
© Telegram / @stranauaProtests at the Orthodox Holy Intercession Cathedral, April 3, 2023
The Lavra is technically state property but the church administered it under a 2013 agreement, which Kiev declared null and void earlier this year, claiming that the UOC violated it by having ties to "enemy nation" Russia. Ukrainian courts rejected the UOC's appeals.
Kiev Caves Lavra
Kiev Caves Lavra, one of the Five Lavra’s of the Russian Lands, the current Headquarters of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and the first Russian monastery in history
The newly sequestered sites may be handed over to the OCU or the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which is in communion with Rome, or could even be demolished as "illegal objects" given the government's annulment of lease and use contracts.


Comment: What more proof of the depravity of the Ukrainian regime does one need, than this possibility?

Ukrainian radical nationalists storm church, injure several congregants and replace locks on doors


Back in March, President Vladimir Zelensky called the seizure of the Lavra "a move to strengthen our spiritual independence" and accused the UOC of being a tool of Russia. A third of Ukraine's regions have outrightly banned the UOC so far.

Moscow has accused Kiev of persecuting the canonical Orthodox church and Washington for tacitly approving Ukraine's actions. The US State Department, which produces an annual "religious freedom" report, has never commented on Kiev's campaign against the UOC. The reports published so far contain references only to meetings with representatives of the government-backed OCU.