Moscow, October 31, Interfax - The Ukrainian Orthodox Church will survive despite the current pressure from Constantinople and the Ukrainian authorities, Metropolitan Pavel, the vicegerent of the Kiev Lavra of the Caves, said.
"It's not as bad as it looks. All the forces of hell are against us, but we are with God and we have nothing to fear. We are a canonical Church, a holy, conciliar Church, we are one with all local Churches, and I hope that we will survive with God's mercy, with support from the entire church of Christ and your support," the metropolitan told reporters in Moscow.
The threats made by nationalists against the lavra not only do not scare people, but generate even more interest in the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, he said.
"The more we are pressured, the more believers we have. After Pokrov [the feast of the Protecting Veil of the Theotokos], when they threatened to do some evil to us, very many excursions were organized and there were many pilgrims. There were many people before and now there are even more. People see very well what is true and what is not. Only blind people, who have never prayed, don't see that. They need their ambitions, their devilish proud self," the metropolitan said.
He said he is confident that the monks of the Kiev Lavra of the Caves will stay faithful to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is led by Metropolitan Onufry.
"I cannot say that there any lack of steadiness in our brethren. They are real warriors who have withstood all this pressure these 25 years. [...] Therefore, I believe, hope, and have no doubt that the brethren will stay faithful to the holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which simultaneously holds the title 'Russian Orthodox Church,'" Metropolitan Pavel said.
When asked, he said that the Kiev Lavra of the Caves does not currently need physical protection. "I still think that the Lord will prevent any mockery of Our Lady's house. [...] Our force is now in prayers, not in weapons," he said.
He spoke condescendingly about the recent awarding of titles to Filaret Denisenko, leader of the self-proclaimed "Kiev Patriarchate".
"The man probably dreamed all his life and he can't part with his cowl, it's probably the only thing of value left in his life. Therefore, he has always called himself holy archimandrite of the Pochayevsk and Kiev Lavras. He now has many titles, he is a metropolitan and a patriarch. [...] What's the next one?" Metropolitan Pavel said, adding that the "Kiev Patriarchate" essentially does not exist and is "a political party."