A week ago, the Solomensky District Court in Kyiv granted the prosecution’s request to change the remand of the abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra Vyshgorod and Chernobyl Metropolitan Pavel (Lebed) from house arrest to pretrial detention.
The court allowed him to post bail of 33 million hryvnias (just over $800,000) to remain under house arrest.
Metropolitan Pavel is accused of collaborationism and propagandizing the ideology of the “Russian world.” He faces eight years in prison and confiscation of his property. The latter is the likely reason for setting such a high cash bail, which would shed light on his condition and allow that money to be forfeited. Metropolitan Pavel (Lebed) will remain in pre-trial detention until August 14.
During the court session, the metropolitan stated that he was ready to swear on the Bible that he was innocent. “I have never supported the aggressor, I have never supported Putin,” he said. And he distributed from the pretrial detention center an address to the monks in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, in which he compared himself to the confessors from the time of the Bolshevik regime. “All the accusations against me are complete lies. The false witnesses, including on the part of some brothers, they cannot accuse me of anything.” He also urged the monks not to accept a new abbot.
Russian Patriarch Kirill did not hide his joy at the opportunity this news gives him to resume the topic of “the canonical Ukrainian Church in persecution, which needs protection against the godless regime in Kiev.”
During the bishops’ conference, which took place on July 20 in Moscow, Patriarch Kirill designated Metropolitan Pavel as a confessor and said: “A religious figure cannot and should not be subjected to such repressive measures because of his religious beliefs. I note with great concern that the change of the remand of Metropolitan Pavel, a man of advanced age, from house arrest to pre-trial detention threatens him with a serious deterioration in his health and may lead to his death in the detention center.”
However, Patriarch Kirill does not take any action towards his (former) clerics detained in Russia, among whom Fr. Ioan Kurmoyarov, who is also of advanced age and imprisoned for his anti-war beliefs, with the refusal of communion and the possibility of wearing Christian symbols.
Propaganda in the country needs cases like that of Mitr. Pavel to justify its political and military aggression. The actual involvement of any individual is of no importance, much less the problems of the Ukrainian Church. An eloquent example is provided by the comments on the arrest of Vyshgorod Metropolitan Pavel by two famous Russian propagandists:
Kiril Frolov commented on the case as follows: “We, the Orthodox Christians, supporting our head and the holy church both on the military front and on the information-political front, humbly ask His Holiness Patriarch Kirill to ask President Putin to crush the ukro-reich of the antichrists and liberate Kiev.”
And Alexander Dugin reportedly said: “We will liberate Kyiv. We will return the Lavra to the people. Everything else is pointless. We will wipe Ukraine off the face of the earth, and then deal with its masters. But not immediately. We said: from the face of the earth!”