The “sacredness” of Chersonesos: between two fires

30 Jan 2017 academic Secretary of the Museum-reserve “Chersonese” in Sevastopol Natalia Ginkul announced the temporary suspension of consideration of the transfer of 24 sites Museum of Simferopol and Crimean diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) as that provided incomplete set of documents.

Claims for these objects nominated by the Dean of Sevastopol district Archpriest Sergei Haluta, stating that the situation in the Museum was unenviable in the Soviet Union, and “in Ukraine”, and even “Russia”, but the “return” of the property of the Church would be the best option. Broadcast local TV channel NTS, he said in plain text that his diocese “is committed to the laws of the Russian Federation”. In the summer of 2015, the priest has managed to stay as the Director of the reserve — though only three days, even over this short period, causing the resistance of the Museum: to calm the scandal then, on the orders of the Kremlin to Sevastopol there has arrived the Minister of culture of the Russian Federation.

The request objects of the reserve in bezoplatnoe use of the diocese nominated in 2016, but then rejected it, referring again to nepalnet list of documents. The basis of the claims on the Museum property was the Russian law of 2010 on the transfer of Church property in state or municipal ownership, saying that 24 of the structure of the reserve had previously existed in the monastery. In the academia of mainland Ukraine and Crimea are of the opinion that the transfer of the reserve to the use of the Church can inflict great harm and even put him under the threat of destruction.

This question recently attended the Union of museums of Russia, saying that the transfer of Chersonesos churches will lead to his getting into the list of monuments under threat, and exclusion from the list of world heritage of UNESCO. The Museum community has observed that the Church component of Chersonesos is part of its historical and cultural image, and its exaggeration can have a negative impact on the reputation of the Church “in the difficult situation of the Crimean”. It was not noted that UNESCO 2014 which will monitor the status of the reserve subject to the non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea by Russia. And certain actions of the Crimean clerics, the de facto controlled by Russia, may result in an international scandal.

Commentator of the Moscow newspaper “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” Paul Skrylnikov is convinced that requiring the Chersonese, the ROC may lose Ukraine. The material under this name the writer notes that the claims of the Crimean diocese of the UOC MP in the reserve will hurt the whole Church.

“Relations of the UOC-MP does not recognize the annexation of Crimea to Russia, the Ukrainian government already difficult. If the objects of the reserve will be transferred to the Church of the Kyiv metropolis will be in a difficult situation: it would be contrary to Ukrainian law, which it obeys. After the collapse of the USSR, the return to religious organizations of nationalized property in Ukraine was regulated next presidential decrees. Article 17 of the law of Ukraine “On freedom of conscience and religious organizations” States: “religious buildings and property of the state property transferred companies, the balance of which they are free use or return to the property of religious organizations free of charge by the decision of oblast, Kyiv and Sevastopol city state organizations and in the Republic of Crimea — government of the Republic of Crimea,” writes Paul Skrylnikov.

Here only in March 2014 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has dissolved the Verkhovna Rada of the ARC after she declared “independence” of the Peninsula. Russian writer cites the comment of the Deputy of BP of Ukraine Viktor yelenskyy about what dioceses and parishes of the UOC-MP in the occupied lands of Ukraine subject to Kiev in name only, and their legal status is unclear, because the Church has not provided the necessary clarification and did not publish their statutes. The article also presents reflections on this occasion the Director of the Department of religious Affairs and nationalities Ministry of culture of Ukraine Andrey Urasa.

“If the Crimean diocese appeals to the Russian government about the decision of some strategic issue on the basis of its legislation — it is definitely recognize the Russian Crimea. About the Crimean diocese of the documents we received from the top clergy of the UOC absurd response that it is necessary to refer to territorial entities that provide registration. In fact, this meant that the need to appeal to the Russian authorities! De facto Metropolitan of Kiev was recognized that does not want to give to the public the statutes of their dioceses: that means not subject to or metropolis, or to such content, to publish them it is impossible”, — said Andriy yurash.

However, in Russian media there is another view on the situation. For example, journalist Alexander Shirokorad published on the portal “Though.Ru” a note entitled “will Give the construction the old man Poroshenko?”, which is worried that in case of transfer of reserve to the Church it will be subordinated to the Kyiv metropolis of the UOC-MP.

“Since 2004, the Kyiv authorities are trying to create in Ukraine a unified Church. Why in the Russian Crimea, a Ukrainian monastery? Everyone needs a monastery near the sea; Kiev reason have little interest in churches and monasteries in the mountains and steppes of the Crimea”, — says Alexander Shirokorad.

The author notes that the Church structures on the Chersonese, which claims the Crimean diocese of the UOC-MP, was almost completely destroyed during the Second world war, after which they virtually rebuilt at public expense for the Museum, and a large part of the territory of ancient Chersonesos in the late nineteenth century belonged to the military Department. “Who are interested in destabilizing the situation in Crimea? Do we have other little problems? Or Ukrainian Church in the person of Mr. Haloti decided to make a gift to the President Poroshenko and to give the opportunity to the Western media once again to gossip about the “Russian occupation of Crimea?” — asks Shirokorad.

Very original Church “March to the Chersonese” commented publicist Yekaterina Shchetkina: “They (the representatives of the Crimean eparchy of the UOC — approx. ed.) perhaps you understand how uncomfortable the situation will be Moscow, if she would have to deny not specific the priest (even if decent), and the whole of the Crimean Archdiocese, which is under the Moscow Patriarchate — although officially it remains part of the UOC, which is also in the canonical subordination of the MP. However, the Kremlin leadership to behave with the part of the Ukrainian Church as the structural part of the ROC (Russian Orthodox Church — approx. ed.) on the territory of Russia, can not for ideological reasons. The Crimean metropolis of the UOC-MP seems to be “not noticed” that there was an annexation, that the secular power over the Peninsula now is not in Kiev, but from Moscow. What’s the difference? It’s all “one people”! Archdiocese showed himself a model ally in the protection of the “Russian world” and, logically, would have to be an example of how generously the Kremlin treats such allies. Especially given the fact that in Ukraine such allies are many, and their loyalty is an important component of Russian success in a hybrid war. However, the Russian authorities have something “paid” — in fact “clean” from the Peninsula of the UOC-KP (Kyiv Patriarchate — ed. ed.)”.

After these words add nothing.