Help to save our church!

 united kingdom 640St. Nicholas Church on December 6, 2019 will celebrate the 110 th anniversary of its consecration.1

It is the largest Catholic church in Kyiv, besides the only building in the neo-Gothic style in the capital, and is considered one of the seven wonders of Ukraine. At the beginning of the 20th century it was built by well-known architects S.Valovsky and V.Gorodetsky.The idea of the construction of a new temple was associated with a large number of Catholic believers which the Cathedral of St. Alexander could not accommodate any longer, although Sunday services were conducted almost every hour, in general, about 40 thousand people belonged to the parish.

The church was built in ten years thanks to the generous financial donations of Catholics. The newspaper "Kievlyanin" was publishing the annual reports of the Construction Committee. The information necessarily indicated the time interval and the amount of donations, and in the end - the total amount.

However, the Soviet authorities began to introduce their decrees in 1919, as a result of which the Roman Catholic Church, as well as all other confessions, was deprived not only of land, property, funds, but also of ownership rights to church premises and sacral objects.

In the 30 years of the 20th century the Catholic clergy was repressed, and the temple was turned into a warehouse and an archive. After the war devices were installed on the towers of the church that were suppressing foreign radio stations, in particular those that broadcast Catholic services.

In 1954-1957, repair and restoration works were carried out on the facade of the building. Unfortunately, during these works the stained glass windows disappeared, those which had been in the windows of the temple.

1956 The church of St. Nicholas had been included into the list of architectural monuments protected by the state, but in 1963 it was removed from the list, and a metro line started being constructed right under the building.

According to the decision of the Council of Ministers of the USSR as of December 13, 1978, the temple was transformed into a Republican House of Organ and Chamber Music, and the premises were adapted to a concert hall: the organ of the Czech firm "Rieger-Kloss" was installed in the place of the main altar, new stained-glass windows and furniture were made to order, and the parquet floor was layed.

In the lower part of the temple, where there were tombstones, toilets, wardrobe, rooms for artists were arranged. As a result of inappropriate use of the temple, water was collected in the lower premises, and that became a threat to the foundation of the building. At present there is no water, but high humidity is felt, there is fungus on the walls. Also, the metro line passing below has its devastating effect.
For more than half a century ago, on January 4, 1992, the faithful were able again to step over the threshold of their temple and to restore the worship. Since then, after a long break, the church again began to perform its main function, the parishioners are trying to return the building to its owner - the Roman Catholic Church.

At present the church building is on the balance of the Ministry of Culture. However, the ministry officials are indifferent to this historical landmark, for the maintenance of which the state allocates scarce funds, the appearance of the building and internal arrangement of the temple clearly show it. In the draft of the State Budget for 2019, less than 80 thousand UAH are budgeted for the renovation of the church of St. Nicholas, but a major renovation and restoration of the temple require multi-million dollar investments. Thus, it is obvious that the state does not have the ability or desire to preserve this exceptional building for future generations.

Despite the poor condition of the building, the authorities ignores it with its attention, although tiles and a fence around the temple were put. How much money during this time the state spent on maintenance, repair and restoration of the temple, since the time it has become a state property, that is, since the end of 2009, is unknown. The Ministry of Culture did not provide information on any of the parish requests as to amount of funding for the period 2010-2018. Where the budget funds went, when and what kind of repair and restoration work was carried out remains a mystery. Although the published official reports state multimillion-dollar amounts allocated on the development of project documentation and repair and restoration works, the parishioners during this time witnessed only a short-term simulation of repair.

Comparing the submitted amounts of state financing and the types and volume of the so-called repair and restoration work, there is a reasonable suspicion: was the St. Nikolay's Church the object of financial abuse of the officials of the Ministry of Culture?

The parish has partially repaired the lower and upper parts of the temple at its own expense, but the building needs a global reconstruction. Now, once again, priests and parishioners are alarmed that the church is collapsing before our eyes. Recently, on May 24, 2019, a huge concrete piece fell from the gable of the temple. The smaller are falling regularly

For more than 27 years, since the independence, the faithful have been asking the state to hand over the building to the Catholic Church in order to keep it from the inevitable destruction and to restore it with its own forces, as it had been done for the St. Alexander Catholic Church in Kyiv.

On June 25, 2001, Pope John Paul II visited the church of St. Nicholas during his apostolic visit to Ukraine. The then President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma promised the Holy Father to return the temple. Unfortunately, he did not keep his promise.

The Ministry of Culture justifies its refusal by the fact that the St Nicholas church is a concert hall of the National House of Organ Music and the state has no other appropriate premises for conducting concerts. However, the Catholic Church assures that according to European practice it will be possible to carry out cultural events in the temple

This God's house was built over a century ago by the faithful Catholics, and our duty is to preserve the heritage of our predecessors and to use it for its intended purpose. However, in order for the religious community to organize a complete restoration and high-quality renovation of the historical monument, it should be the owner of the building, which once was illegally appropriated by the Soviet government.

Observing the inactivity of officials, the faithful of the Roman Catholic Church, who at the same time are the citizens of independent Ukraine, cannot feel protected from bias and arbitrariness of the authorities, which often perceive the people only as an electoral component.
The situation around the Nicholas Church calls into question the foundations of the rule of law and levels out the principle of justice in our country, without which a democratic society is unthinkable.


Голос Папи

Генеральна аудієнція з Папою Франциском в Бібліотеці Апостольського палацу, Ватикан, 13 січня 2021


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