Ukraine Places Orthodox Priest Leader Under House Arrest

Metropolitan Pavel is accused of justifying Russia's invasion, which he denies

A Kyiv court on Saturday ordered the house arrest of Metropolitan Pavel, a Ukrainian Orthodox priest who is the head monk at the historic Pechersk Lavra Monastery.

Pavel is suspected of justifying Russia’s invasion, which is a criminal offense in Ukraine. He has denied the allegations, saying he had “never been on the side of aggression.”

After a court hearing on Saturday, a monitoring bracelet was placed on Pavel’s ankle despite his objections. The allegations against him were made by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), and SBU agents raided Pavel’s home.

The arrest is part of a broader crackdown against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) by the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The UOC has historic ties to Russia but denounced the war and cut ties with Moscow following the invasion.

The UOC’s steps weren’t enough for the Ukrainian government, as other priests have been arrested and sanctioned as part of the crackdown. Pavel’s house arrest comes as Kyiv is trying to evict UOC priests from the Pechersk Lavra, known as the Monastery of the Caves in English.

The Ukrainian government owns the Pechersk Lavra and claims the priests living there have violated their lease by making alterations to the historic monastery. But the UOC priests say the accusations are just a pretext to kick them out. The priests at the Pechersk Lavra have refused to leave, and it has been a few days since Ukraine’s deadline for them to be evicted.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.