Ukraine’s SBU Raids Home of Russian-Backed Religious Head
The metropolitan of the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is accused of inciting hatred on religious grounds
He is accused of inciting hatred on religious grounds
“Criminal proceedings were commenced under part two of article 161 of the criminal code of Ukraine. This is a violation of the equality of citizens in regards to their race, nationality and religious beliefs. This is also an incitement of interfaith hostility,” said Ihor Huskov, the chief of staff of the SBU.
Lebid, lives in a two-story manor of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, located outside of Kyiv. Security cameras can be seen on the walls.
Lebid has not spoken to journalists.
Another showed up and introduced himself as the director of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra farm.
“I’m here on business,” he said, but did not mention if his business was in any way connected to the search.
The metropolitan eventually came out for a briefing in the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra. He claimed that he has not lived in the manor for quite some time already and denied all accusations.
“I was credited with disliking Patriarch Bartholomew. This is not true. I have always respected him and respect him now as well. He was with us in the Lavra and twice in my house. I prayed for him until a certain time, but he does bad things, and divides people in the church,” Lebid said.
The abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra has been the center of numerous scandals. More than once, as the head of the monastery, he fought with the staff of the museum in the premises, because they opposed construction on the territory of the Lavra.
Lebid also publicly supported the Yanukovych regime and criticized the participants of the revolution of dignity.
“It seems strange to me that we talk about children on Maidan. If you are a student, go study. If you are a son, be at your parents house. Why did children go there? How much are they being paid?” Lebid said at the time.
The metropolitan did not have a warm relationship with journalists either, as they have often tried to expose his love of luxury. On this video above, it can be seen how he takes away the phone from a journalist who tried to film him.
The article under which Lebid is being accused can carry a punishment of up to five years of imprisonment.
Ukrainian leaders accuse the Moscow Patriarchate of promoting the Kremlin’s interests and spreading propaganda.
The Kyiv Pechersk Lavra is one of Ukraine’s most famous monasteries and a popular tourist site.