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Head of Ukraine’s Church holds Christmas service at historic monastery long linked to Russia

On 7 January, Ukrainian believers attended a service at the Pechersk Kyiv Lavra in Kyiv for the first time as the country celebrates Orthodox Christmas amid Russia’s war. The service was led by the Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epiphanius.

The entire Lavra complex belongs to the Ukrainian state. However, its churches were rented by the Russian Orthodox Patriarch since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

After Ukraine accused leaders of the church of collaborating with Russian invaders, the special commission returned the churches of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra to control of the state.

Also, LB.ua, citing its own sources, reported that President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy stripped 13 priests of the Patriarchate of Moscow who had been charged with state treason of their citizenship.

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