The release on bail of Metropolitan Pavel (born Pyotr Lebed) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) will not grant him full freedom of movement or impact the ongoing trial, according to assurances from the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

Responding to media inquiries, the SBU stated in a press release on Wednesday, Aug. 9, “This preventive measure will not compromise the fairness of the trial in Metropolitan Pavel’s case.”

The court has placed several obligations on the pro-Russian metropolitan: he is required to wear an electronic tracking device, remain within the village of Voronkiv in the Boryspil district of the Kyiv region, and inform the investigator before leaving (except in urgent situations involving a threat to life and health).

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Metropolitan is the title of an ecclesiastical provincial leader in the Orthodox Church, and Pavel was the vicar of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, or Monastery of the Caves, Ukraine’s most important religious site. The publicly owned monastery is still occupied by the UOC-MP, even though the government evicted the Moscow-backed Church in March 2023.

Additionally, Pavel must promptly appear before the investigator, prosecutor, or investigating judge upon request and refrain from contacting victims and/or witnesses.

The SBU clarified that the charges against Metropolitan Pavel under the Ukrainian Criminal Code do not warrant detention without alternative measures.

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Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has brought to light other contested issues between the two nations – such as ecclesial authority and claims to Kyiv’s spiritual legacy.

The UOC-MP metropolitan was detained while awaiting trial on two counts: violating the equality of citizens based on their religious beliefs; and justifying, recognizing as legitimate, or denying Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine.

The investigation into the criminal case against Pavel has concluded and his legal representatives are currently reviewing the materials. Subsequently, the indictment will be forwarded to the court.

Pavel was released from custody on Monday after posting bail amounting to Hr.33.3 million (nearly $1 million).

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His lawyer, Mykyta Chekman, claimed that the seemingly substantial bail was successfully collected through donations from parishioners, facilitated by the publication of details on the UOC-MP website.

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