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Court places Metropolitan Pavlo under house arrest for 2 months

Saturday, 1 April 2023, 21:29
Court places Metropolitan Pavlo under house arrest for 2 months

The Shevchenkivskyi District Court in Kyiv has placed Metropolitan Pavlo (Petro Lebid) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), the former abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, under round-the-clock house arrest until 30 May on suspicion of inciting sectarian hatred and condoning Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine.

Source: Ukrainska Pravda correspondent; Ukrainska Pravda source

Details: The court granted the application made by the Security Service of Ukraine investigators and the Kyiv Oblast Prosecutor’s Office.


According to the investigation, since the beginning of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine, Metropolitan Pavlo has condoned Russia’s armed aggression in his communications with believers and has spoken out negatively against the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), which may have led to aggressive attitudes towards the church.

The investigators’ application outlined two events in particular. The first incident occurred in May 2022, when during a telephone conversation with Tamara Fediuk, Metropolitan Pavlo made remarks condoning the Russian Federation’s aggression. He also recorded a video message to members of the UOC-MP in which he disparaged the OCU and urged them "to be reasonable and not to follow the instructions of the 'mad tormentors'."

The prosecutors stressed that there was a risk of the suspect escaping, putting pressure on witnesses, and destroying or distorting evidence.

The defence lawyers objected to the application and requested a more lenient restrictive measure – personal recognisance.

"There is a war going on between religious organisations in our society. The church is separate from the state, and it should not interfere," said the suspect's lawyer, Mykyta Chekman, who believes that both the notice of suspicion and the risks outlined by the prosecutors are unfounded.

Chekman noted that representatives of the OCU, who oppose the UOC-MP, had been questioned as part of the criminal case.

Metropolitan Pavlo said that the suspicion was "political" and that he had "always been against aggression".

"I would like Russia to leave us alone. I have done nothing to be accused of anything. I have always been against aggression. I am now in Ukraine. This is my land," Metropolitan Pavlo said.

He also asked to be provided with a copy of the recordings referred to by the investigation and for Romanchuk and Klos, the complainants, who he said were representatives of the OCU, to be questioned; he said they were prejudiced against him and that he did not know them personally.

Metropolitan Pavlo also stated in court that he had been "threatened with hanging and murder". When asked if it was indeed his voice on the recordings shared by the Security Service of Ukraine, he said, "Maybe I was joking and did say something like that."

"I know that this is a political order. I was told to go over to the OCU. The SSU [Security Service of Ukraine] summoned me to see the director of the museum and said that a criminal case had to be opened against me. And that's what they did. I won't look into who [did it], I'm not going to settle scores. I accept it all as the will of God," the Metropolitan said.

During the court hearing, the issue of Pavlo’s place of residence arose. He asked that if house arrest is to be imposed as a restrictive measure, he be left in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, where he has lived for 29 years. However, the prosecutors noted that he is registered at a different address, and the Lavra belongs to the state.

The court placed Metropolitan Pavlo under round-the-clock house arrest at his address on Molodizhna Street.

According to an Ukrainska Pravda source, Metropolitan Pavlo will remain under house arrest in the village of Voronkiv, Boryspil district, Kyiv Oblast; an ankle tag will be used to monitor his whereabouts.

As of 21:50, Pavlo was refusing to put on the tag, claiming to have problems with his legs. A doctor was on his way to the court. Later, the bracelet was put on him after all.


  • On 1 April, Pavlo Lebid was served with a notice of suspicion of "infringing the equal rights of citizens based on their religious beliefs", and "glorifying participants in the Russian Federation’s armed aggression against Ukraine".
  • The Security Service of Ukraine also published recordings of Pavlo's phone conversations and sermons.
  • Pavlo Lebid said in the courtroom that he was "against aggression" but made no mention of Russia as a perpetrator.
  • The court hearing involving Metropolitan Pavlo Lebid had been postponed until Monday, as Pavlo said that he was not feeling well "due to his blood sugar level". But later, the hearing was rescheduled for 18:30 on Saturday after the court approved a compulsory summons.

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