The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) began conducting searches at the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra (monastery) on Feb. 9, several Ukrainian media outlets reported, citing sources in the service.
The monastery, one of Kyiv’s dominant landmarks, was leased to the Moscow Patriarchate-linked Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC-MP) before authorities ordered to restore the Lavra’s property to the state last year.
“According to our information, the Security Service came to a priest who coordinated staged protests during the return of the property of the Lavra to the state,” an unarmed source in security services told Ukrinform.
The Kyiv Independent reached out to the SBU for comment but has not received a response at the time of the publication.
No further details were provided, and the SBU made no official announcement so far.
After 2022 searches of the UOC-MP’s premises uncovered pro-Kremlin propaganda and other evidence of pro-Russian sympathies, the government took steps to remove the UOC-MP from controlling the Lavra.
After the termination of the lease, the Culture Ministry ordered the church members to vacate Lavra in March 2023. The clergymen contested the order and even blocked authorities from accessing the monastery.
In August 2023, a court ordered the UOC-MP to return the Lavra’s property to the state.
Apart from the Moscow Patriarchate, the premises of the Lavra are also used by a museum.
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