Kravchuk, Yuschenko ask Yanukovych to intervene in situation at Tithe Church
Former Ukrainian Presidents Leonid Kravchuk (1991-1994) and Viktor Yuschenko (2005-2010) have asked incumbent President Viktor Yanukovych to intervene in the situation at the Tithe Church in Kyiv and to stop construction work, according to their open letter obtained by Interfax-Ukraine.
"We consider it our civic duty to address you in connection with the alarming situation at a monument of history and archeology, which is the foundations of the world-famous 10th-century Tithe Church in Kyiv," reads the letter.
"The illegal installation of construction trailers took place near the foundations of the Tithe Church at about 2300 on May 25, 2011. At the same time, representatives of the developer refused to show any permits for conducting construction work to the security guards of the reserve and police officers who were called to the scene. If religious shrines have already become the subject of raider attacks, then a lot of questions arise, first of all, for the authorities. Is this possible in a civilized country?" Kravchuk and Yuschenko said.
The letter notes that such a self-confidence of the developer disturbed not only Kyiv but also the entire country.
"The attempt of the so-called recreation of the Tithe Church is a direct violation of international security law – the International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites (Venice, 1964), the Charter for the Protection and Management of the Archaeological Heritage (Lausanne, 1990), the European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (Valletta, 1992), the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, which were signed and ratified by Ukraine," reads the letter.
"We are completely against the shrine of the Kyiv Rus, the mother of all Ukrainian churches, being a bone of interreligious contention and the subject of political speculation. Therefore, a politically and culturally prudent step will be to preserve the monument in its original form – until a time when construction technology will help not to destroy it or the cultural layer surrounding it," the letter reads.
In this regard, Kravchuk and Yuschenko asked Yanukovych to personally oversee the situation surrounding this monument of archeology.
"We also consider it necessary to instruct the Kyiv City Administration to make the foundations of the Tithe Church a museum, as well as to conduct a mandatory public and expert discussion of the final draft of [plans for] its preservation," reads the letter.
As reported, on May 19, the competition commission to determine the further fate of the remains of the foundations of the Tithe Church in Kyiv selected two winners of the competition. One of the projects, designed by Andriy Myrhorodsky, proposed that the remains of the Tithe Church foundations be covered by "a glass cross" and a small chapel be built, while the second project, proposed by Olha Kruhliak, foresees the construction of a small medieval church.
The commission suggested that the two creative groups unite to design a joint project.
On May 27, Head of Kyiv City State Administration Oleksandr Popov said that no construction work would be conducted on the remains of the Tithe Church foundations without proper licenses and documents. He said that archaeologists were continuing to work at the scene.