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Pope asks for respect of religious people, places in Ukraine war

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Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 03/15/23

Pope defends a monastery still under jurisdiction of Moscow Patriarchate.

Pope Francis made a brief appeal at the end of the general audience this March 15:

And I think of the Orthodox nuns of the Kiev Lavra: I ask the warring parties to respect the religious places. Consecrated nuns, people consecrated to prayer — be they of any denomination — are in support of God’s people.

Later, he entrusted the Ukrainian people to Our Lady: “To her, Comforter of the Afflicted and Queen of Peace, we also entrust the martyred people of Ukraine.”

On March 10, the Ukrainian government announced the expulsion of the monks under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate still residing in the Kiev Caves Lavra, in favor of clerics belonging to the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church. The monks who currently occupy this sanctuary, the most important of Orthodoxy in Ukraine, are to leave before the end of the month. The Patriarch of Moscow, Kirill, has denounced this expulsion.

The Pope created some confusion by referring to “nuns” living in the monastery, when it is occupied only by male religious.

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