Ukrainian officials ordered a historically Russian-affiliated wing of the Orthodox Church to leave the 980 year-old Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra Monastery by the end of the month. The monastery, also known as the "Russian Jerusalem", was founded in the 11th century under Prince Iziaslav I of Kyiv. In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra was subordinate to the Patriarch of Constantinople. Nowadays, it is a center of Orthodox pilgrimage, under the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.
The Ukrainian culture ministry said the Ukrainian Orthodox Church had been ordered to leave the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery complex, because " it violated the terms of the agreement regarding the use of state property", but did not give any details.
However, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) says it has severed its ties with the Moscow Patriarchate, and is the victim of a political witch hunt. Since October last year, Ukraine’s Security Service has carried out searches at UOC churches, imposed sanctions on its bishops, and initiated criminal proceedings against dozens of its clergymen. The authorities said they had found pro-Russian literature on church premises. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church denied the allegations.