Today, members of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations made a respective statement.
The decree was signed on September 7, several sources familiar with the situation said LB.ua.
St. Nicholas Church is a Roman Catholic Church in Kyiv, one of two built in the city before 1917. It is located in the center, on Velyka Vasylkivska street. The church was built in 1899-1909 in the neo-Gothic style by architect Vladislav Gorodetsky. Since 1980, the building has been used as a concert hall of the House of organ and chamber music.
Now the church houses the state organization “National House of organ and chamber music of Ukraine”. At the same time, there is a community of the Russian Orthodox Church, which has limited opportunities for worship in the church. The parish community of St. Nicholas Church have been asking the state for 30 years to return the church, which believers are now forced to rent. For more than 10 years, the church has been in disrepair and requires urgent thorough restoration.
On September 3, a short circuit occurred in the church organ, which led to fires and the destruction of tools.
According to estimates of the Ministry of Culture, the restoration of the church will require 75 million hryvnias. As of September 6, almost 26 million rubles were raised by joint efforts of citizens and businesses.
On September 8, Roman Catholics launched a prayer marathon in Kyiv on the rosary with the intention of returning the Church of St. Nicholas to the community.
On September 9, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations issued a statement stating that the Church of St. Nicholas in Kyiv should be transferred to the permanent free use of the Catholic community.
“We are watching with concern the events that are taking place around the issue of returning the Church of St. Nicholas Church to the Roman Catholic parish in Kyiv,” the AUCCRO said in a statement. “It is well known that according to the decree of the president of Ukraine No. 329 of 18.08.2020 and decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 1203-R of 16.09.2020 Church of St. Nicholas was to be transferred to the permanent gratuitous use of the Catholic community.
We sympathize with the National House of Organ and Chamber Music for the loss of a valuable instrument and concert venue. We also share the sadness of the Roman Catholic parish, which has now lost the opportunity to hold services in its church.
Since the previous presidents of Ukraine, heads of government and Ministers of Culture promised to solve this issue by building a new suitable room for creative teams, we believe that the situation that has arisen, in addition to the tragic component, also has a chance to correct the troubles of the past, establish justice in relation to the religious community, as well as the possibility of the comprehensive further development for cultural figures in new, modern and suitable conditions for this.
We understand that the decision to transfer the church building and organize a new artistic space requires courage and a strong will to change, but the time has come to implement it. We hope that it will come to a common understanding and cooperation of cultural workers with the religious community, as this is the only correct path built on justice, mutual respect and creative optimism.”