Roman Catholics brought stones fallen from St. Nicholas Church to the Ministry of Culture in Kyiv
Along the wall of the Ministry of Culture, the participants of the event placed the stones that have been falling from the church. Over the past two years, the cathedral has been rapidly deteriorating since a devastating fire in September 2021.
Father Pavlo Vyshkovsky, the parish priest of St. Nicholas parish, explained the purpose of the event:
"We have gathered here today out of necessity because we have been fighting for over 32 years for fairness and justice regarding the situation of our church, specifically the return of it to its rightful owners - the Roman Catholic parish of St. Nicholas, whose church was built by our predecessors at the beginning of the 20th century. We are here because today marks the end of the memorandum signed two years ago," Fr Pavlo emphasized.
A priest of the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine pointed out that the Ministry of Culture leadership ignores their demands while the church continues to deteriorate.
"You don't see how the church has deteriorated in 2 years, and you do nothing about it. The Lord said, 'If you remain silent, the stones will cry out.' So, today, we brought stones that fell from the church. Let them speak to you and to all those who hinder the church's return. These 12 stones symbolize the Apostolic Church - the Church founded by Christ Himself on a strong foundation, which the gates of hell will not prevail against," he stated.
During the protest, the current head of the Ministry of Culture, Rostyslav Karandiev, through Sergiy Samoylenko from the Department of Communications of the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy, invited Father Pavlo to a conversation, which he attended along with three representatives of the parish council. Rostyslav Karandiev appeared after nearly 40 minutes of waiting, apologizing for a prior important meeting.
"The head of the ministry didn't say anything new that I didn't know, whether it's about legislative obstacles preventing the implementation of the President of Ukraine's assignment or the fact that relevant laws have been waiting for voting in the Verkhovna Rada for a long time. The only thing he promised was to extend the memorandum's term and mentioned that a commission might come to assess the church's condition. But we will take the church even in an unsuitable condition, to which its previous pseudo-owners brought it," commented Father Pavlo Vyshkovsky at the meeting.
Participants in the peaceful protest addressed the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine with the following demands:
Establish new deadlines for the transfer of the religious community of the Roman Catholic parish of St. Nicholas in Kyiv, the cult building of St. Nicholas Church located at 75 Velyka Vasylkivska Street, Kyiv.
Take urgent measures as provided in Section 4.3.1 of the Memorandum on Cooperation dated November 5, 2021, specifically ensure the preparation of a Technical Condition Report for the monument, a description of cultural values and objects belonging to the monument, a monument passport, floor plans of the monument, a technical passport, and a list of property transferred to the permanent use of the parish, and also develop and agree upon a security agreement with the future holder.
The faithful insist that the church, built by the Catholic community of Kyiv in the late 19th and early 20th centuries at their own expense, should be returned to them and restore its full status as a parish sanctuary.
On October 27, 2023, petition No. 41/005649-23EP was created on the Cabinet of Ministers' website, demanding the return of the St. Nicholas Church in Kyiv to the community.
Facebook page of St. Nicholas Church