UNESCO denies reports that it has plans to evacuate Kiev Caves relics

Kiev, June 28, 2023

Relics of St. Ilya of Murom at the Kiev Caves Lavra. Photo: dzen.ru Relics of St. Ilya of Murom at the Kiev Caves Lavra. Photo: dzen.ru     

UNESCO denies any plans to evacuate relics from the Kiev Caves Lavra to Western European countries.

Earlier this week, it was widely reported in the Russian media and beyond that Ukrainian authorities and UNESCO had agreed to remove the relics.

RIA-Novosti quoted Sergei Naryshkin, head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service:

An agreement has been reached between the Kiev authorities and UNESCO representatives on the removal of Christian values, including holy relics, from the territory of the Kiev Caves Lavra, and their subsequent transfer to museums in Italy, France, Germany and the Vatican under the pretext of “salvation from Russian missile strikes.”

The reports were commented on by a number of Church and governmental figures.

However, RIA-Novosti later reported that UNESCO denies any such plans on its end.

“UNESCO is not involved in this evacuation, thus it cannot comment on this topic or confirm this fact itself,” said UNESCO spokesman Tom Mallar.

Ukrainian Minister of Culture Alexander Tkachenko also responded that “no sacred valuables will leave the territory of Ukraine,” though at the same time, Tkachenko is an open enemy of the Kiev Caves Lavra and the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

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