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Metropolitan Pavel, vicegerent of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, was sent to a pre-trial detention center, allegedly for justifying the aggression of the Russian Federation and inciting religious hatred
On July 14, 2023, the Solomensky District Court of Kyiv sent Pavel, the governor of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, to a pre-trial detention center. The Metropolitan was charged with new charges of violating the equality of citizens because of their religious beliefs and justifying Russian actions against Ukraine. For this, he faces up to 8 years in prison and confiscation of property. Previously, the priest was placed under house arrest for inciting hatred on religious grounds. In the Russian Orthodox Church, the criminal prosecution of priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is called political repression, which has nothing to do with legality. And they hope that the deliberately false accusations against Metropolitan Pavel can be challenged in European human rights bodies.
On July 14, 2023, a court hearing on the arrest of Pavel (Lebed), Metropolitan of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl, vicar of the Kiev Metropolis, vicar of the Holy Dormition Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, was held in Kiev in the Solomensky District Court.
The reason for the new accusations to the Metropolitan of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl was an interview he gave the day before to one of the Ukrainian TV channels.
The SBU interpreted his words as a criminal offense. “In it (in an interview) he denied the existence of Ukraine as a sovereign state. The defendant also called the Russian armed aggression against Ukraine a civil conflict that has been going on since 2014," the agency said in a statement.
In addition, Metropolitan Pavel, allegedly in violation of a court ban, entered into communication with a witness in another criminal case, the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine said.
Metropolitan Pavel was handed a message about the new charges on July 13, when he arrived at the Main Investigative Directorate of the SBU for questioning as a witness in another criminal case. He was also presented with a motion to change the measure of restraint to detention.
The information campaign against Metropolitan Pavel in the Ukrainian media unfolded instantly, it violates the presumption of innocence of the accused, Archpriest Nikita Chekman, the Metropolitan's lawyer, said.
The prosecutor read out the materials of a new case, in which the clergyman is suspected of justifying Russian aggression and inciting religious hatred.
The prosecutor quoted, in particular, the following statements by Pavel from telephone conversations:
The Metropolitan commented on the accusations made by the prosecutor:
“I do not recognize these accusations, I am ready to testify on the gospel. The prosecutor himself does not know what he is reading, what the charter of the church is, because he has never been to the church. Even if those conversations about which the prosecutor speaks took place, the prosecutor himself declares that these were telephone conversations, not publicly, but in a private conversation. But this is not true. I have never been on the side of the aggressor, I have never been on the side of Putin,” said Metropolitan Pavel.
The court changed the preventive measure for the Metropolitan from house arrest to detention with the possibility of making a bail in the amount of 33 million hryvnia (about 80 million rubles.). He will be in a pre-trial detention center until August 14.
Metropolitan Pavel said that he did not agree with the court's decision to change his measure of restraint and that he did not have that kind of money to pay bail.
After these words, the bailiffs led the governor of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra out of the courtroom.
Before being sent to the pre-trial detention center, Metropolitan Pavel gave his staff and cross to lawyer Nikita Chekman.
Despite his age and severe illness, he was sent from house arrest to a pre-trial detention center. Russia demands the immediate release of the clergyman, one of those who are being persecuted by the Ukrainian authorities, who have launched a persecution of all canonical Orthodoxy in the country.
Metropolitan Pavel is the largest figure against whom a case has been initiated in connection with the latest events, Alexei Svetozarsky added.
- He is at the head of the brethren of the Lavra, and great attention is riveted to it. But now in Ukraine there are quite a few hierarchs who are authoritative among believers, who are having problems with a system that has nothing to do with justice. There are already several criminal cases. For example, against the rector of the Holy Cross Cathedral in Uzhgorod, Archpriest Dimitry. This is also a person who calls a spade a spade,” added the professor.
Vladimir Vigilyansky noted that any statements on this topic are now politically interpreted and it is very easy to catch any priest on them.
Patriarch Kirill appeals to religious figures and representatives of international organizations in connection with the persecution of the governor of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.
On July 15, 2023, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus' addressed the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches, a number of religious figures and representatives of international organizations with messages in which he announced the persecution of the abbot of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl.
The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church addressed the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches, Pope Francis, Patriarch of the Coptic Church Tawadros II, Head of the Anglican Communion Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Secretary General of the World Council of Churches Dr. Jerry Pillay, Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres, Secretary General of the OSCE Helga Maria Schmid, Secretary General of the Council of Europe Maria Pejcinovic-Buric, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Matteo Mecacci.
The text of the message is given below in full:
“On July 14, 2023, on the basis of the decision of the Solomensky District Court of the city of Kiev, the bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the vicar of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl, who was previously under round-the-clock house arrest, was taken into custody and placed in prison.
The court's decision was made in the context of ongoing attempts by the Ukrainian authorities to forcibly and illegally remove the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra from the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
This court decision, unjust and obviously dictated by the Ukrainian authorities, is intended to intimidate believers, force them to refuse to protect their religious freedom and shrines, and is part of the large-scale persecution launched by the Ukrainian authorities against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
A religious figure cannot and should not be subjected to such repressive measures for their religious beliefs.
I note with great concern that the change in the measure of restraint for Metropolitan Pavel, a man of advanced years, from house arrest to placement in custody threatens him with a serious deterioration in health and may lead to his death in a pre-trial detention center.
I urge you to pay attention to the ongoing persecution of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ukraine and take all possible measures to protect Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl from the lawless persecution.”
Будьте в курсе предстоящих событий и новостей!
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