One would hardly know it from the lack of media coverage in the United States, but violent clashes between police and protesters have been erupting in Kiev, Ukraine this week. All of this, however, was at least temporarily brought to an end when the Kiev-Caves Lavra Fr. Gabriel, Fr. Melchisedek, and Fr. Ephraim stood on Grushevsky Street in Kiev, getting in between the protestors and the Ukrainian special police force “Berkut”. Armed only with crosses and religious icons, the monks managed to stop the conflict.
The monks made it clear that they were there only as peace-makers and had not taken a side in the conflict, they simply wanted to see an end to the violence between the clashing groups.
Protesters urged them to join the “people”, but the monks stood in the middle, singing the Paschal troparion: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life,” according to the Ramensky deanery of Moscow who posted about the peace-making on their Facebook page.
According to the Ukraine website Pravoslavie v Ukraine (“Orthodoxy in the Ukraine”), the religious leaders will not leave until the violence has permanently ended, and the situation has been stabilized.
Archimandrite Alipy (Svetlichny) wrote that they are praying in shifts and will continue to:
“I just came home to change my clothes and warm myself. I am writing quickly. That is because at midnight I must return to the Maidan, which has turned all of its aggression to Grushevsky Street. From 14:00 I stood with the brothers of Desyatina Monastery at their prayer post. After 18:00 Fr. Victor, secretary of the diocese, and Fr. Giorgy, press secretary, arrived. They took my place. I am grateful to them for that, because my neck muscles stiffened.
“You can’t even imagine how important it is for the clergy to stand there!
“So many people came up to us (even people in masks!—secretly) and thanked us for standing there. They were surprised that we were from the Moscow Patriarchate [as opposed to the schismatic “Ukrainian Patriarchate”—ed.]. I will write quickly: my teeth are still chattering, but I have to go back.” Fr. Alipy planned to be there until 6:00 a.m. today.
We’ll keep you posted on the protests and clashes in the Ukraine as they unfold… or as they don’t unfold, as the case may be. Meanwhile, what are your thoughts?
(Article by Isa Abu Jamal; image and on-the-ground details via Pravoslavie; quotes from Facebook)