Several valuable icons removed from Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, criminal case opened – Nishchuk
Ukraine's Culture Minister Yevhen Nishchuk has said several valuable icons have been found missing from the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra complex in Kyiv and that a criminal investigation has been launched.
"We have already partially completed the inventory. Complete reports are now being sent to us. Some icons have gone missing from the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra," Nishchuk told the Pryamiy TV channel on Tuesday evening.
The minister said there would be a separate briefing on the disappearance of religious relics after the relevant paperwork is filed.
As earlier reported, MP Ihor Lutsenko of the Batkivschyna faction on January 4, 2019 criticized the work of a commission set up by the Ukrainian Culture Ministry to conduct an inspection of the relics kept at the National Kyiv-Pechersk Historic and Cultural Reserve has not reported on the results of the audit because it found cases of hallows being replaced with fake items.
"The problem is that most likely everything has already been taken out of there… They took out all the hallows [holy remains of dead monks]," Lutsenko told a press conference at the Kyiv-based Interfax-Ukraine news agency on January 4.
He said he believes that this is the reason for the results of the work of the Culture Ministry's commission not having been made public yet. In connection with this, the MP thinks it necessary to analyze how the audit was carried out.
Serhiy Krolevets, former director of the National Kyiv-Pechersk Historic and Cultural Reserve, said that the state of Ukraine had handed the hallows over to the church and at present it is not their owner. In connection with this, he said he believes that objects of cultural heritage must be returned under the control of the state.
As reported earlier, a special commission made up of employees of the Ministry of Culture and the National Kyiv-Pechersk Historic and Cultural Reserve was set up by the Ministry of Culture to carry out an inspection of relics given to the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra 30 years ago. The commission's job is to make an audit of the existing ecclesiastical antiquities and holy items that have been handed over to the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra since 1998 when the monastery there resumed operation.
The objects of the National Kyiv-Pechersk Historic and Cultural Reserve belong to the state of Ukraine; however, they are under a 50-year-long lease by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.