UOC-MP Synod asks Zelensky not to take away the Lavra and not to ban their activities
Ukrainska Pravda reported on the statement, which includes a request from the Church's Synod that Zelensky refrains from taking the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra away from them. The Synod argues in their appeal that they have not committed any wrongdoing and, in fact, contribute greatly to the benefit of Ukraine.
In particular, the UOC-MP claims that:
"they teach their flock to love their homeland";
"it was the first religious organization to strongly condemn this military aggression and called on its believers to stand up for their native land";
"its parishioners are now in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine";
"it provides material assistance to military personnel, internally displaced persons and other categories of the population who find themselves in difficult circumstances";
"its clergy travel with humanitarian supplies to cities and villages particularly affected by the war";
"it defends the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our state and strongly condemns Russian military aggression against Ukraine."
The Church also considered that 9 draft laws aimed at stopping the activities of the UOC-MP were registered in the Verkhovna Rada, and asked to prevent their adoption.
We respectfully urge you, as the head of state and guarantor of the Constitution of Ukraine, to protect the constitutional right to freedom of conscience and religion for the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. We implore you to prevent the adoption of any unconstitutional laws against the Church that are currently being considered in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. We also request that you take all necessary measures to ensure that the clergy, monastics, and believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church can continue to carry out their ministry in the Holy Dormition Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.
On March 20, members of the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, headed by Metropolitan Onufriy, arrived at the presidential office "in order to convey to the state leadership the position of the UOC-MP."
But they were not allowed to see Zelensky. Presidential spokesman Serhiy Nikiforov said that Zelensky does not plan to meet with the Synod delegation, but employees of the presidential office met with representatives of the UOC-MP.