The head of the Ukrainian State Service for Ethnopolitics and Freedom of Conscience Elena Bohdan said that more than a hundred churches that belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and have been seized by schismatics of the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) are now standing empty.
"There are not even dozens, but more than a hundred of closed, empty churches," the official said at a conference themed "The Religious World or the 'War of Civilizations”.
According to Bohdan, despite the persecution UOC remains the largest religious organization in Ukraine, its churches in Kiev are crowded at every Sunday service. The OCU, too, has churches in Kiev, she added, and services are held there, but these have never seen as many people attending the service, as the UOC churches.
Elena Bohdan also explained why the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra shall hardly be transferred to the OCU.
"Has anyone wondered how many OCU monks there are in Kiev? Less than fifty. And how many monks are there in Kiev-Pechersk Lavra alone? More than two hundred. All in all, there are about 600 residents in Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, including those who teach and study at the Theological school," Bohdan said, adding that the utility bills of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra and restoration costs "are very large amounts, they are paid not by the state, but by the religious organization called UOC."