Reserve Reluctant to Pass Saint Sophia Cathedral to Church
KYIV – Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv is one of the priority objects, which the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate have asked President Yanukovych to return to the Church at its last synod. "The St. Sophia is the cathedral of the Kyivan Metropolitans but we are not able to pray there," noted the press secretary of Metropolitan Volodymyr, Protopriest Heorhii Kovalenko.
According to Religion in Ukraine, the director of the National Reserve Sophia of Kyiv Nelia Kukovalska is of the opinion that the Church's request cannot be granted. "Sophia and other similar valuables cannot be returned to the Church. It belongs to the whole world as it is a unique cultural monument, which has lost its initial significance in the eyes of the society," she says.
In addition, Ms. Kukovalska believes that the Church will not be able to maintain the cathedral in proper condition. According to her, "research institutes and a great number of experts on restoration and maintenance of monuments" are currently working in the reserve museum.
The cathedral is one of the most ancient churches of Rus’ as it was built in the 11th
century. In the beginning of the 17th century, Greek Catholics temporarily took care of it and then it was returned to the Orthodox. In Soviet times, the church was closed and opened during some years for services to be conducted. The cathedral has not been passed to any Ukraine's confessions and is a museum, where celebratory services are allowed.
The National Reserve Sophia of Kyiv includes 54 monuments of architecture and covers an area of over 35 hectares, and includes St. Andrew's Church, St. Cyril's Church, and the Golden Gate.