Ukraine closes Orthodox churches of Ancient Chernigov Preserve, leaves schismatic churches open

Chernigov, Chernigov Province, Ukraine, November 16, 2023

Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Chernigov. Photo: Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Chernigov. Photo:     

After examining 18 objects of the state-owned Ancient Chernigov National Architectural and Historical Preserve, including several churches and monasteries, the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine has decided to close the Orthodox churches but leave the schismatic churches open.

The faithful are thus cut off from the relics of several saints that are housed in the Chernigov churches. The Ministry claims that all the UOC churches are in poor condition, while the schismatic churches are said to be in good condition.

The inspected objects include the complex of buildings of the Elets Monastery (12th-17th C.), the Holy Trinity Monastery (17th-18th C.), and the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral (11th C.), all of which were being used by the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and the St. Paraskevi Church (12th C.) and St. Catherine Church (18th C.), which are used by the graceless “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” reports the UOC’s Information-Education Department, with reference to the site of the Ministry of Culture.

The Church was ordered already back in March to vacate the monasteries and cathedral.

The Elets Monastery is one of the oldest from Kievan Rus’. St. Anthony of the Kiev Caves even lived there for a time in 1069.

According to the Ministry, the holy sites used by the UOC are “in unsatisfactory condition” and require renovations and conservation work. The commission also recommended that the houses of worship be “museumized.”

On the other hand, the commission assessed the condition of the sites used by the state-created OCU as “satisfactory.”

However, the canonical UOC notes that there are “obvious flaws in the preservation” of the churches used by the OCU, but the state didn’t seal them, as it did to the Orthodox churches last month, thus closing off the relics of Sts. Theodosy, Philaret, and Lawrence of Chernigov.

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