Ukrainian Orthodox Church property is being seized over “ties to Moscow”
FILE PHOTO: The Kiev Pechersk Lavra monestary complex in Kiev, Ukraine. © Getty Images / Douglas Keister
Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klitschko on Friday ordered the closure of 74 churches belonging to the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (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.
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.