Exactly fifty years ago, in July 1973, I visited the Kiev Caves Lavra (Monastery) for the first time. Or rather I did not visit it. I was not allowed in, as militiamen stood on guard outside with sub-machine guns, forbidding entrance to all. The Lavra was closed. Such was the Communist persecution of the 1970s. What is happening there today is also persecution, but certainly not as bad as in the 20s and 30s when the torture chambers and then the firing squads made short work of all Orthodox clergy. Today State-recruited hooligans outside the Lavra, wearing T-shirts with ‘I love Satan’ on them, protest against Christ. Let them. There has been no bloodshed here so far.
True, Metropolitan Paul has been placed under house arrest. He is popularly known as ‘Pasha (Paul) Mercedes’, for he has a lot of them in his private palace. He is well-known as a corrupt careerist. A bit of persecution is doing good. cleansing of teh post-Soviet corruption. Already another of the200 monks of the Lavra has been found out. He sold his soul to the devil in exchange for being made ‘Abbot’ in the schismatic American ‘Church’ of Epiphanius. The Church is not about golden domes, it is about golden souls. Perhaps some will begin to understand this. In the New Church, after this period is over, let us ban gold and marble in the churches and sell what we have and give the money to the poor.
Meanwhile, the Churches of Constantinople and Alexandria, less so the Churches of Greece and Cyprus, though individuals within them are compromised, are totally discredited. Their silence before the persecution in the Ukraine, persecution which they have sponsored, condemns them. As are any, including certain individuals in the Moscow Patriarchate, including in the imploding ROCOR, who deride and rail against Metropolitan Onuphry. A yardstick of Orthodoxy, he is supported 100% by the rest of the Orthodox world, the free Orthodox world. Metr Onuphry has now become the most authoritative hierarch in the Orthodox world. He is one of the few who is not compromised by any political regime.
We continue to pray for him, commemorating him and his Church at the Great Entrance, as ever over the last four years, and all the persecuted in the Ukraine. For we too belong to the Persecuted Church – and not the Persecuting Church. Just as the atheists tried to close us, so they are now trying to close the Lavra.