Government initiates the transfer of the OCU Cathedral in Simferopol to state ownership
The Cathedral in Simferopol, which belongs to the Crimean diocese of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, will be transferred to state ownership based on a resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
The draft resolution was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine at a meeting on May 6, 2020, according to the Institute for Religious freedom.
According to the draft law, a part of the property estate, marked in the property layout by the letter "a", with a total area of 1475.7 square meters to be transferred to state ownership is located at the address: 17 Sevastopol street, Simferopol', 95015.
Now, this building is in the communal property of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Since the powers of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea were terminated early in March 2014, the Parliament of Ukraine is authorized to dispose of this property.
However, the draft resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine provides that the premises of the Cathedral will be transferred to state ownership temporarily - for the period in which the Law of Ukraine "On ensuring the rights and freedoms of citizens and the legal regime on the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine" is effective.
It is not yet known whether the government plans to transfer this building of the Cathedral directly to the ownership of the Crimean Diocese of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, as Archbishop Klyment (Kushch) insisted during his hunger strike in front of the Government House in December 2019.
At the same time, in a comment to the IRS, Deputy Head of DECR of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Archbishop Yevstratiy (Zorya), explained the intent of the draft resolution prepared by the government as follows:
"The Russian occupation administration in Crimea has been trying for six years to take away the premises of the Church and the diocesan administration from the unified functioning community of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in Simferopol, using the status of lease. To be able to protect these premises from raiding invaders, it must be owned by Ukraine, and not by the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. In this case, international institutions will have more legal grounds to require Russia not to violate the rights of the religious community and not to take away the temple."
Note that the draft resolution "On some issues of protection of the right to freedom of religion of believers of the Crimean Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Orthodox Church) and the preservation of the premises of the Cathedral of Sts. Volodymyr and Olha" has already been registered in the Verkhovna Rada on 4 March 2020, but on the same day, it was withdrawn.
On November 14, 2019, the arbitration court of the Central district of Kaluga rejected the appeal of representatives of the Crimean Diocese of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine against the decision of the Russian Ministry of Property and Land Relations of the Crimea to terminate the lease of the Cathedral of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Volodymyr and Princess Olha.
On December 10, 2020, Archbishop Klyment of the Crimean Diocese of OCU announced an indefinite hunger strike, demanding the protection of religious freedoms on the territory of Crimea, and securing to the clergy of the Crimean diocese of the DNR, but he suspended his strike for a week at the request of Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv all Ukraine.