15:11 04.01.2019

Culture Ministry's commission in charge of inspecting relics of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra keeping silent because it established substitution of hallows — MP

3 min read

KYIV. Jan 4 (Interfax-Ukraine) — MP Ihor Lutsenko of the Batkivschyna faction supposes that 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 on 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.

"Have they done a DNA testing? Are those authentic hallows or just moldings? Where did all of it go? This, most probably, will be stupefying facts, and this is the reason why nobody is allowed in there," Lutsenko said.

Lutsenko hopes that in January, the Anti-Corruption Committee of the Verkhovna Rada, of which he happens to be a member, will invite representatives of the Ministry of Culture to report on the commission's work so that "they would report on what they have done and say what they are going to do next."

"The created inventory commission should have already reported back, but this is a narrow-sector commission. Let's ask the Ministry of Culture to include members of NGOs and people's deputies into it. Let's work together to conduct an inventory," he said.

In his turn, 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.

"The state of Ukraine is not the owner of the hallows. The state of Ukraine handed all of it to the church by its goodwill. This is the problem now that we gave out everything ourselves. We must restore the control of the state over the objects of cultural heritage in reality, including the use of the law," Krolevets said.

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.