I’m writing to you about a desperate situation in the cradle of our Church – the Kiev Caves Lavra.
But before I can reveal what the appalling news is, I need to give you more context.
Like me, you probably watched the heartbreaking last service in the Lavra’s Refectory Church.
Not knowing if and when they would be able to return to their familiar house of worship, which was now being turned over to the schismatic, government-backed “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU), thousands of people gathered in the church.
Hope and love triumphed over anger and fear as they sang the service together, then Christmas carols, and finally “Christ is Risen.” And then they had to leave…
But stealing the Church’s property is just the beginning… It looks like the authorities are just warming up.
They are determined to wipe out the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and replace it with the OCU, which has as much to do with the canonical Orthodox Church as oil and water.
Confiscating the property of the Church is only the first step. The truth is, the travesty of a “church” that the government is supporting doesn’t have nearly enough followers to fill even the monastery grounds inside the Kiev Caves Lavra. And they know it.
So how are they planning to deal with this little problem?
They are starving the canonical monks out of the Lavra. That’s what I just found out from the abbot of the monastery himself.
In the last few days and weeks, many of the canonical bishops, clergy, and monastics have been sanctioned by the Ukrainian government. The Ukrainian government froze the accounts of the monastery, as well as of Metropolitan Pavel – the abbot of the monastery.
The monastics have no one left on Earth they can ask for help – except for you. Because every hierarch, cleric, monastic, and layman knows who has helped them survive this past horrible year.
“ROCOR helps us more than anyone else in the world,” – says Fr. Sergiy Ekshiyan, the head of the Synodal Social Humanitarian Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
In addition to sanctions, the government has stripped several canonical bishops and clergy of their citizenship, and has been giving tacit approval to thugs who seize parish churches in villages throughout Ukraine to turn over to the OCU. Videos have even surfaced of hierarchal vestments being burned and dance parties being thrown inside churches!!
But that’s old news and while the world doesn’t care, our brothers are being starved.
At this moment of crisis, Metropolitan Pavel, the abbot of the ancient monastery, applied to ROCOR for help, because…
- They have nothing to eat and no way to pay for their modest needs…
- they are in a war-torn country, routinely attacked by their own countrymen…
- their accounts are frozen…
- their property ‒ seized…
- their Faith ‒ mocked…
They are now facing a choice: starve or deny their – and our – Church.
Doesn’t it sound eerily familiar?
How many times have you read of similar starvation tactics used during the times of Diocletian, Julian the Apostate, and the Soviet Revolution?
I’m not writing this to you to scare you and spoil your day.
I’m writing to you today because like our starving Ukrainian brothers in the Kiev Caves we, too, have a choice.
You’re not being forced to deny your Church yet. Your choice is far simpler – to endure just a little suffering – a small privation – by sharing what you have with these modern martyrs.
Will you let our canonical Orthodox brothers and sisters starve?
Will you leave them alone? Hungry? Scared?
Or will you stand with them, pray for their strength – and send them funds?
Because the good news is – we still have a safe way to send them money. So, when you send urgent help to Metropolitan Pavel and the faithful brethren suffering for Jesus Christ and our Church today, you can be sure that the money is going to go into their hands.
I know that you won’t leave them alone and helpless. That’s why when Metropolitan Pavel asked ROCOR for help, I knew I could count on you.
The good news is that it costs very little to feed the monks. See for yourself:
- $1.5 pays for one hot meal consisting of a bowl of hot borscht, a plate of potatoes with fish, a cup of hot tea, and a piece of bread.
- $15 will provide a hot meal to 10 people
- $150 will feed 100 monks
- $300 will feed all 200 monks currently at the Lavra
I’m hoping to raise $28,000 by March 12th, so that we can send the brethren enough money to feed them throughout Great Lent.
When you send a donation today, you will be directly fulfilling the commandment to feed the hungry. You will be standing with your Orthodox Ukrainian brothers and sisters who are fighting for their faith – and survival.
Thanks to you, these long-suffering people will receive the joy of knowing that someone in the world cares…
That the Orthodox world mourns their fate and prays for their deliverance.
When you donate today, you will be providing perhaps the only physical comfort they can get today.
You might think that I’m making too much of a big deal out of a hot meal. That it won’t save the Ukrainian Church. That it’s just a drop in the ocean. But I don't think so.
When you’re scared, traumatized, exhausted and hungry, a simple bowl of hot borscht can bring comfort and rest – at least temporarily. And that small moment of safety, of warmth, of good food, of security – will be your precious gift to a brother or sister in desperate need.
Will you help your brothers and sisters suffering for Christ?
I know that you care for these modern saints-in-the-making. You will save them from starvation and gather for yourself treasure in the Kingdom of Heaven. So that when you meet them on the other side, they will take you by the hand and thank you for what you’ve done for them in this valley of shadows. And you can glorify Christ Whom you both suffered for – together.
Please take out your checkbook now and write out a donation for our brethren at the Kiev Caves Lavra. Or click here to help online right away.
With love in Christ,
President, Fund for Assistance
P.S. Please don’t put this aside. Every moment increases the suffering of our Orthodox brothers and sisters.