The ex-governor of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan of the Vyshgorod and Chernobyl Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate "Pasha Mercedes" (Pyotr Lebed) was left under house arrest in the case of inciting inter-religious hatred and justifying a full-scale Russian armed invasion of Ukraine. This is reported by "Suspilne" with reference to a correspondent from the courtroom in Kiev.
The court granted the prosecutor's request to extend the round-the-clock house arrest until July 1 with the obligation to wear a bracelet. The pre-trial investigation is ongoing, it has been established that Lebed could have influenced the witnesses during the investigation, prosecutor Yevgeny Zavistovsky said.
In September 2022, a recording of a conversation between Pavel Lebed and a monk got into the network. Then the metropolitan scolded his subordinate for public criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the armed aggression of the Russian Federation. According to media reports , the conversation took place in early March. On the recording, Paul also voices the decision to forbid the monk from worship. The monk himself wrote on social networks: “Those who support Putin’s war against Ukraine should be excommunicated from communion for several years.”
On April 1, Metropolitan Pavel was handed a suspicion, at the same time the Shevchenko Court of Kyiv chose a measure of restraint in the form of round-the-clock house arrest. He is suspected of inciting inter-religious hatred (Article 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) and justifying Russia's armed aggression (Article 436 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). During a meeting on May 29, he denied ties to the Moscow Patriarchate, and also expressed indignation at the nickname "Pasha Mercedes", which was assigned to him due to the use of expensive cars, in particular, as he is called in the Ukrainian and Russian media. Lebed also claims that at night they called him to transfer to the OCU, to Metropolitan Epiphanius, and then allegedly all charges would be dropped.
The SBU clarified that Lebed, in his public speeches, repeatedly insulted the religious feelings of Ukrainians, humiliated the views of believers of other faiths and tried to form hostile attitudes towards them, and also made statements that justified or denied Russia's actions during the war.
Today, confrontation continues in Kyiv around the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, from which the Ukrainian authorities are trying to expel the monks of the UOC, which, despite the declarations, retains a canonical connection with the Moscow Patriarchate.
In May 2022, the council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), chaired by the head of the church, Metropolitan Onufry, decided on the complete independence and independence of the UOC from the Moscow Patriarchate (the mention of it was removed from the name of the church). Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia (ROC) Kirill (Vladimir Gundyaev) commented on the decision of the UOC on complete independence and independence from the Moscow Patriarchate, stating that this is the influence of "spirits of malice in high places." Gundyaev himself justifies the war in Ukraine from the very beginning, makes speeches about how long it would take NATO missiles to reach Moscow, and he also argued in support of the war even in a telephone conversation with the Pope.
In 2018, with the support of President Petro Poroshenko, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) was created on the basis of two churches - the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP). She received autocephaly by decision of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. As a result, the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) declared it impossible to "further stay in Eucharistic communion" with the Patriarchate of Constantinople.