August 18, 2015
The nuns of St. Haralampius Convent in Hamaliyivka are collecting signatures to petition Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko to demarcate between the convent and the Shostka Correctional Facility № 66 for men.
The initiative was blessed by the bishop of Konotop and Gluhkiv His Emninence Roman (UOC-MP) and implemented by the dean of the Shostka deanery Fr. Petro, the Igumena Sofia, and local faithful and enthusiasts.
As RISU has reported, St. Haralampius Convent, which operated near the village of Hamaliyivka in the Shostka district during the years 1713-1924 could have been an important center of pilgrimage today if it had not become part of the prison.
The first thing that catches the eyes of those who come to Shostka is the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary beyond a very high barbed wire fence. It is currently a prison church where a priest comes to officiate on a regular basis. Next to the Cathedral there are former monastery cells, and now there are bathhouses for prisoners, workshops and administrative offices.
The monastery complex is an architectural monument of national importance and historic value—there is the family tomb of the Skoropadskys, including one of the last Hetmans Ivan Skoropadsky and his wife Anastasia.
The formal conditions for the transfer of the cathedral and monastery grounds already exist. During his presidency Viktor Yushchenko signed decree №4/2010 “On some issues concerning the preservation of the landmarks of St. Haralampius Monastery in Hamaliyivka,” which states that the men’s correctional facility should vacate the premises and buildings of the former monastery. However, this decree required considerable funds to transfer the facility to another space. The facility leaders have agreed to return the buildings to the Church, but the presidential decree is presently not enough.