Sheptytsky did not leave Lviv with the retreating Austrian troops. On September 6, 1914, in his sermon he called the Russian Orthodoxy as "state", "public, ...".
Sheptytsky's activity was regarded as a challenge to the Russian autocracy.
The Metropolitan was arrested and sent to Russia in exile. The Metropolitan remained imprisoned until March 1917 when he was released as a political prisoner by the Temporary Government of Russia.