The brethren of Pochaev Lavra, its vicars and the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have made a huge contribution to the revival of the monastery after the decline it underwent during the Soviet era. This was told by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufriy of Kyiv and All Ukraine, who was the vicar of Pochaev Lavra in 1988-1990, reports the Information and Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
His Beatitude noted that the restoration of the monastery began after the celebration of the millennium of the Baptism of Rus in 1988. Then the authorities allowed to repair and restore the temples and premises of the monastery, which was previously prohibited.
The Primate recalled that during the period of official godlessness the Lavra was deprived of “many premises and territories, gardens and agricultural areas, the printing house, candle production, bakery and other facilities of the Lavra economy were closed; the ancient building of the brotherhood building was then used as a regional psychiatric hospital”.
“In the former hotel for pilgrims, where the Pochaev Theological Seminary now operates, at the foot of the Lavra complex, was placed the Soviet Museum of Atheism,” recalls His Beatitude, “and numerous tourists, schoolchildren, students, workers and intellectuals, before entering the monastery, had to visit this ‘center of the struggle against religion’. Such was the reality of those times. Unfortunately, today these dark times are being repeated, but under different slogans”.
“In 1994, the Pochaev Theological Seminary was opened, the first teachers of which were Lavra residents with theological education. <…> In 1996 the priesthood blessed Archimandrite Vladimir (Moroz), now Metropolitan of Pochaev, to be the Rector of the Lavra, who has been tirelessly working in this high obedience for 27 years. Under his leadership Lavra was literally transformed. The bishop Volodymyr and his brothers were helped by the Lord to return to the ownership of the Lavra many territories, monastery premises and buildings, to build a wonderful hotel with a modern refectory for pilgrims. But the main construction and decoration of Pochaev Lavra was the new Transfiguration Cathedral, the largest in Ukraine and the 7th largest in the world. This is a unique treasure of our time, the cultural and spiritual significance of which can hardly be overestimated”, – emphasized the First Hierarch.
He also noted the great contribution to the revival of the Lavra of his predecessor, His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr: “The deceased Primate of the Church treated Pochaev Lavra with great attention. His Beatitude not only regularly led divine services here, but also contributed in every possible way to the return of the Lavra lands and premises, interceding with the authorities”.
The Primate expressed the hope that “in today’s circumstances, our authorities will respect and pay attention to the tremendous work that the brethren of the Lavra have done for its revival.”
“The Pochaev brethren and the God-loving flock of this region have for many centuries demonstrated examples of high patriotism, national consciousness, devotion to their native Ukraine, its spiritual culture, and loyalty to the Ukrainian people. In all centuries Pochaev has repelled attacks of opponents, both from the western world and from the east”, – emphasized His Beatitude.
He also pointed out that “after the invasion of the Russian Federation troops into Ukraine, the holy monastery received many hundreds of refugees who found shelter, fraternal warmth, care and sympathy here”.