Metropolitan Antony (Pakanich) of Borispol and Brovary: Why Do We Need the Lavra?
Many have seen the videos where supporters of the eviction from the Lavra [Kiev Pechersk Lavra—the main holy monastery of the Local Orthodox Church—transl.] of “errant” monks dance around people who are praying on their knees. The humble prayer and the mocking dances and shrieking represent two different worlds which reflect the essence of their bearers, not to speak of people with satanic symbols on their clothing or those who represent themselves as pagans. Why do they need the Lavra? Certainly not for prayer and repentance.
For them the Lavra is a “center of power,” a symbol of some ideology or other, a museum, but not a home of prayer, not an abode of the Holy Spirit. We all saw what “performances” were held in the Trapeza Church of the Upper Lavra. Call these actions anything, but they are not prayers in a holy site.
When Saints Anthony and Theodosy founded the monastery, they were prompted by only one desire: to create a place where people could save their souls. Indeed this took place for almost a thousand years. Yes, Kiev Pechersk Lavra became a cultural center, a symbol of Kievan Rus, etc., but I repeat that its establishment and function was for the salvation of human souls. And now they wish to deprive us of this essence, this spirit of the Lavra, to the noise of whooping and frolicking.
We should not be surprised by this. As many holy Christian sites there are, there are just as many forces of evil taking up arms against them. And during these sorrowful days of Great Lent, when we remember how Christ was mocked in the last hours of His way of the Cross, we must be thankful to God that we can in some way share the sufferings of our Savior.
The days of Great Lent are days of repentance. How many of us now are capable by our free will to bring forth the fruits of repentance? Now the Lord Himself grants us the opportunity to share the burden of His Cross with Him and thereby cleanse ourselves of sin. Let us be worthy of this blessing. Let us not respond to offense with offense, violence with violence, mockery with mockery. Instead by the example of our Lord and Savior repeat His holy words: “Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do.” And He will resolve everything, for everything is in His holy will, which we must accept with humility. Christians were always victorious through the power of meekness. In meekness we draw the strength to be bold and courageous.
Recorded by Natalia Goroshkova