Kiev, February 16, 2023
The Economic Court of Kiev ruled yesterday to dismantle the Sts. Vladimir and Olga Church of the Tithes Monastery in Kiev.
Ukrainian nationalists and authorities have been trying to dismantle the church since at least 2018, during the time of President Petro Poroshenko, arguing that it was illegally built on the territory of the National History Museum.
The church was built by Kiev residents in 2006 with the blessing of His Beatitude Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine on the site of the Church of the Tithes—the first cathedral of Kievan Rus’, which was blown up in 1936.
The new church was vandalized and set on fire on January 25, 2018. On February 3, about 200 radicals staged a protest near the monastery, calling for its dismantling. More than 3,000 came out to defend the monastery on the same day. The abbot of the Tithes Monastery, His Grace Bishop Gideon of Makarov, was temporarily deprived of his Ukrainian citizenship in 2019-2020 after he spoke out about the persecution of the Church.
Minister of Culture and Information Policy Alexander Tkachenko announced the new court decision yesterday, arguing that the presence of a church on museum territory “contradicts its intended use.”
The church “is located in the buffer zone of UNESCO monuments, where new construction is prohibited, and also violates the ensemble of the Tithes Church historical archaeological complex,” the Minister writes.
Such a decision is an “open challenge to Ukrainian Orthodox Christians,” His Eminence Metropolitan Kliment of Nezhin, head of the UOC’s Information-Education Department, told the Ukrainian outlet Strana.
The modern Ukrainian state is completely copying Lenin’s ideas about the fight against religion, he said. “First, these people turn the Churches of the Lavra into a place for concerts. And today they’re generally proposing to demolish a church.”
“There was already a period when they started with the destruction of churches and ended with atheistic terror and mass repressions against believers. This will be nothing new,” the Metropolitan said.
Read more about the history of the Tithes Church in the article, “The Much-Suffering Monastery,” an interview with Bp. Gideon, the abbot of the monastery.