Ukraine Raids Holy Site Amid False Allegations against Orthodox Church


Save the UOC Editor

The Ukrainian security services on Tuesday raided one of the holiest sites for Orthodox Christians, saying they were scouring a 1,000-year-old monastery in the heart of Kyiv for Russian saboteurs among the clerics and weapons amid the relics, even as pilgrims prayed in the caves below.

The hunt for Russian spies at the sprawling Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, or Monastery of the Caves, was a vivid demonstration of the depth of mistrust in Ukraine toward a branch of the Eastern Orthodox Church that until this year followed leaders in Moscow, and has been suspected by many Ukrainians of being a Kremlin-aligned fifth column. Millions of Ukrainians belong to another branch independent of Moscow.

As of last month, officials have said, 33 priests had been arrested for assisting Russia since it invaded in February, most of them charged with gathering intelligence and feeding it to Moscow’s forces.

It was unclear if any arrests were made or illegal activity discovered on Tuesday, but the security services warned that churches made a perfect hiding place for those looking to tear Ukraine apart from within.

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