The Ukrainian World Congress, an international non-government organization, is appealing to the Verkhovna Rada for debarring transfer of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra and Holy Dormition Pochayiv Lavra (Ternopil region) and the Holy Epiphany Monastery (Ternopil region) to the ownership of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate, reads a statement made by the organization’s press service.
“The Ukrainian World Congress states inadmissibility of privatization of Ukraine’s invaluable national sacraments that must be in the national domain and belong by right only to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people,” claimed the Congress President Eugene Czolij.
The statement remarks, in keeping with a draft Law on Amending Several Laws of Ukraine, these Christian shrines are proposed to be deleted from the enumeration of monuments of Ukraine’s cultural heritage that are not subject to privatization.
The bill also says that the Cabinet of Ministers will take a decision on transfer of the cultural heritage objects of national significance for free use or into ownership of religious organizations.
The Congress regards all these changes as worrying, fearing that they will result in a loss by the Ukrainian people of historically cultural sacraments.
As Ukrainian News earlier reported, six Members of Parliament on January 12 registered draft law No.9690, in which they were proposing the Rada to vest the Cabinet of Ministers with the powers to hand over the cultural heritage objects of national significance to religious organizations for free use or into ownership.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate hopes the bill will be endorsed and the lavras will be transferred into its ownership.
In 2001, by a Government Resolution monuments of Kremenets and Pochayiv (including the lavra) were announced a Kremenets-Pochayiv state reserve of history and architecture, and in 2003 the Pochayiv Lavra was excluded from the reserve and transferred into ownership to a friary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate.
The Kiev-Pechersk Lavra is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Its territory is divided into two parts: Upper and Lower.
The Upper Lavra is a conservancy area, while the Lower Lavra accommodates a friary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate.