The Dormition-of-the-Mother-of-God Lavra in Sviatohirsk is considered one of the three holiest sites in Ukraine for Orthodox believers. This famous monastery, which before the war attracted several thousand pilgrims each year, is now at the heart of the fighting zone in eastern Ukraine. He was again hit by a strike that destroyed a wooden church on Saturday, June 4.

“Russian artillery hit Svyatohirsk Lavra again today” in the Donetsk region, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on Telegram, posting a video of All Saints’ hermitage (skite) in fire.

Civilians who took refuge in the monastery

He recalled that the monastery had already been hit this week by Russian bombardments “killing four monks and seriously injured four others”. According to him, the lavra is also home to three hundred civilians, including sixty children, who take refuge there to try to escape the bombardments.

The skite “was first destroyed in Soviet times. Subsequently, it was rebuilt. And now it has been set on fire by the Russian army,” the president protested, calling for Russia, a “barbaric” country, to be excluded from UNESCO.

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that its units deployed north of Sviatohirsk were “not fighting” in that area and accused Ukrainian troops of “setting fire” to the site.

The Moscow branch of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine which runs this monastery had previously announced that the fire in the skete had broken out as a “result of hostilities”. “There is no immediate information on the victims,” ​​said this Church, which has just broken with Russia.