On the evening of December 7, 2023, around thirty adherents of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) gathered for a prayer vigil near the temple dedicated to St. Sergius of Radonezh, adjacent to the Kiev Pechersk Lavra. Despite the chilly weather, both believers and clergy joined the daily prayer stand, as reported by spzh.news.
The Lavra monks handed out prosphora, sacramental bread, to the faithful attendees. The priest leading the service expressed gratitude to those who consistently come to pray near the sacred Lavra walls, irrespective of the weather conditions. He emphasized that every prayer would be heard by God. In his sermon, he thanked God for everything sent their way.
The conflict surrounding the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, the main monastery of the Ukrainian Church, has persisted for two years. In late March 2022, the museum unilaterally terminated the lease agreement with the Lavra, demanding the monks vacate the monastery. In August, a court deemed the lease termination and the museum's claims to the monastery's property lawful, paving the way for the eviction of the monks.
Despite ongoing tensions and provocations from radicals—activists who regularly disrupt prayer vigils with offensive slogans and anti-canonical Church placards—the UOC believers continue to gather daily at the Lavra for their prayer stands. The situation remains challenging, with the museum closing the Lower Lavra and restricting access for students and staff of the Kiev Theological Academy and Seminary to the Lavra grounds.