IRF - Institute for Religious Freedom, Kyiv, Ukraine

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Saturday, 01 June 2013 13:34

     Ukrainian Parliament plans to resolve to church of a number of items of cultural heritage

KYIV Drafts of laws have been introduced into the Parliament of Ukraine regarding return to religious organizations of worship facilities and other property that were confiscated in the twentieth century by the communist regime.
Two substantially different initiatives were introduced for parliament's consideration: draft No. 2993, and its alternative, No. 2993-1, the Institute for Religious Freedom reports.
Draft No. 2993 proposes giving authority to the Ukrainian Government to return without charge houses of worship and property owned by the government to the ownership of religious organizations. The draft law also provides the government the right "to make decisions regarding transfer of monuments of national significance for the rent free use or ownership by religious organizations."
At the same time it is proposed to authorize for making decisions regarding the transfer to religious organizations of monuments of local significance the Office for Preserving the Cultural Heritage of the Council of Ministers of the Crimean republic and offices for preserving the cultural heritage of the provinces and the Kyiv and Sevastopol city administrations.
In addition, the draft law provides for removing 135 items from the "List of monuments of cultural heritage not subject to privatization," established by the Ukrainian Law of 23 September 2008. Among them is the complex of facilities of the Kyiv Caves Lavra comprising 113 items (11th to 19th centuries), the Pochaev Caves Lavra comprising 6 items (8th – 20th centuries), and the complex of the Resurrection church and complex of the church of Feodosy of the Caves, located in Kyiv.
The authors of draft No. 2993 are people's deputies A. Derkach, D. Shentsev, S. Grinivetskii, Yu. Miroshnychenko (Party of Regions), A. Golub (communist), I. Rybakov (unaffiliated). Their initiative provides for introducing changes into article 17 of the Ukrainian Law "On freedom of conscience and religious organization" and articles 4, 5, and 6 of the Law "On preserving the cultural heritage."
It should be noted that this is not the first attempt to give the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine authority to return cultural facilities that churches and religious organizations lay claim to. A similar draft No. 1161 of 25 December 2012 was rejected by the Parliament of Ukraine on 2 April 2013 by not including it in the agenda for the subsequent session.
In contrast to this initiative, an alternative draft No. 2993-1 provides for introducing limitations on the transfer to private ownership, including that of religious organizations, "of all monuments that are state or communally owned and constitute objects of the cultural and natural heritage and are included in, or proposed for inclusion in, the list of the UNESCO's world heritage."
At the same time it is proposed to assign the status of land of historic and cultural significance to grounds on which the indicated monuments of cultural heritage are located. Relevant changes are proposed for introducing into article 17 of the Ukrainian Law "On freedom of conscience and religious organizations," and articles 17 and 34 of the Ukrainian Law "On preservation of the cultural heritage" and article 53 of the Land Code of Ukraine.
The author of the alternative initiative is people's deputy Volodymyr Yavorivskii (Batkivshchyna/Fatherland). He advocates the legislative enforcement of the right of state ownership to items of cultural and natural heritage and he proposes ending "the essentially uncontrolled construction in buffer zones of objects of the cultural and natural heritage, including items proposed for inclusion in the list of UNESCO's world heritage."
© 2013 The Institute for Religious Freedom, Ukraine
(Translation by Professional Development Schools of the Stetson University)


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