Source: Peter Anderson, Seattle USA
Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon, who has been the key representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate with respect to Ukraine since 2018, has now arrived in Kyiv. On August 10, the Metropolitan met with President Zelinsky. https://www.president.gov.ua/news/volodimir-zelenskij-zustrivsya-z-predstavnikom-vselenskogo-p-84813. According to the President’s website, attention was paid at the meeting to “the spiritual independence of Ukraine, the discussion of the Ukrainian peace formula, as well as the issue of the return of children illegally deported from our country.” A short video of the meeting can be accessed at https://orthodoxtimes.com/elder-metropolitan-of-chalcedon-met-metropolitan-of-kiyv-and-president-of-ukraine-video/ The video shows that Viktor Yelensky, the head of DESS, was also present at the meeting.
On the same day, Metropolitan Emmanuel also met with Metropolitan Epifany, the primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU). https://www.pomisna.info/uk/vsi-novyny/predstavnyk-vselenskogo-patriarha-mytropolyt-emmanuyil-prybuv-do-ukrayiny/ The website of the OCU provided the following information concerning the visit:
Metropolitan Emmanuel conveyed warm greetings on behalf of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew personally to Metropolitan Epiphany and to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine as a whole.
“With the blessing of His Holiness our Patriarch Bartholomew, I came to Kyiv to testify to the constant support of the Mother Church to the heroic people of Ukraine, who are resisting the unjust and cruel Russian aggression. During the visit of His Eminence the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to the Ecumenical Patriarchate a month ago, the humanitarian dimension of the implementation of the peace formula proposed by Ukraine, as well as other humanitarian initiatives, were discussed. It was agreed that we will continue working in this direction. So, at the invitation of the President of Ukraine, I also came to fulfill this important mission,” said Metropolitan Emmanuel.
During the meeting, a warm and fruitful telephone conversation took place between His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphany of Kyiv and All Ukraine.
At the Memorial Wall of the Mykhailo Golden-Domed Monastery, dedicated to the soldiers who gave their lives in the fight against Russian aggression, Metropolitan Emmanuel, in co-service with the brothers of the monastery, prayed for the souls of the deceased defenders of Ukraine and peaceful residents killed as a result of the war.
On the same day, together with His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphany, Metropolitan Emmanuel visited the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, where the vicar Archimandrite Avraamiy [OCU] met the distinguished guest and told him about the Dormition Cathedral and the current state of life of the monastery, which is gradually freeing itself from the yoke of the “Russian world.”
It appears that the visit of Metropolitan Emmanuel to the Kyiv Lavra only involved a visit to the Upper Lavra and not the Lower Lavra.
The Lower Lavra has been subject to much activity in the last two days. However, it appears that the visit of Metropolitan Emmanuel had been previously planned and is not related to the events of the last two days. On August 9, the Kyiv Commercial Court addressed the merits of the claim by the UOC Kyiv Monastery that the National Reserve did not have a legal right to terminate the lease agreement between the Monastery and the National Reserve. The Court ruled in favor of the National Reserve and upheld the right of the Reserve to terminate the lease. https://mkip.gov.ua/news/9617.html On the same day the legal department of the UOC indicated that it will appeal the decision of the Commercial Court. It also stated that because the decision was oral and not yet written, the decision does not yet have legal effect and cannot be used by the National Reserve as the basis for sealing buildings in the Lower Lavra. https://news.church.ua/2023/08/09/za-opechatuvannya-korpusiv-zapovidnikom-peredbachena-kriminalna-vidpovidalnist-yuridichnij-viddil-upc-prokomentuvav-ostannje-rishennya-sudu-shhodo-kijevo-pecherskoji-lavri/#2023-08-10; https://spzh.news/en/news/75349-lavras-lawyer-on-the-court-decision-preparing-an-appeal.
Also on August 9, the National Reserve sent a letter to the Monastery stating that the Monastery should surrender to the National Reserve Buildings 54, 57, 58, and 68 on the morning of August 10. (See last link) All four buildings are used as hotels for pilgrims. You may recall that the National Reserve unsuccessfully attempted to seal Buildings 57 and 58 on July 10. Early on August 10, representatives of the National Reserve came to Building 58, but access to Building 58 was blocked by a small group of the faithful. The representatives of the National Reserve then left, and no force was used. https://spzh.news/en/news/75357-these-are-our-premises-reserve-is-set-to-seal-other-lavra-buildings (includes a video). Late on August 10, the National Reserve issued a notice that access to the Lower Lavra would be temporarily suspended for all visitors beginning at 7 a.m. on August 11. https://www.facebook.com/kplavra Two exceptions were made. Priests, monks, and employees of the Monastery will have access. The public will have access to five enumerated churches at the Lavra. Although not mentioned in the express exceptions, it appears that the Kyiv Theological Academy and Seminary (UOC) has now negotiated with the National Reserve a third exception relating to its students. http://kdais.kiev.ua/event/novyna-10082023/?fbclid=IwAR0SGmZVVJb2wzd-UdtH2jrRerHYglbMbwIBX4Z_rl5mhDetIFnjQrKdEvM The National Reserve will also hold a press briefing at 10 a.m. on August 11.
Aside from the lawsuit by the Monastery against the National Reserve decided by the Commercial Court on August 9, there is also pending in the same court another lawsuit brought by the National Reserve against the Monastery. On August 10, after a long hearing, the Commercial Court ruled in favor of the National Reserve on its lawsuit. This second decision obligates the Monastery to remove obstacles to the use of the property of the National Reserve and to return this property. https://mkip.gov.ua/news/9625.html This involves 79 property items. The attorney for the Monastery has strenuously attacked this latest decision. https://news.church.ua/2023/08/10/advokat-kijevo-pecherskoji-lavri-prokomentuvav-rishennya-gospodarskogo-sudu-m-kijeva-vid-10-serpnya-2023-r/#2023-08-10; https://t.me/s/nikita_chekman On August 10, the National Reserve posted on its Facebook page the following: We emphasize once again: the activities of the monks in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra must continue, but all objects in general must be returned to the use of the state, and this will be done. https://www.facebook.com/kplavra
Peter Anderson, Seattle USA