18 January 2019, 14:32
Most valuables not missing from Kiev-Pechersk Lavra - deputy minister
Kiev, January 18, Interfax - Most of the valuables of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, including holy relics, are not missing, Ukrainian Deputy Culture Minister Tamara Mazur said.
"Out of what we gave [to the lavra], the majority, and the most valuable things, are there. A tomb with holy relics was given. Our commission inspected it, and the holy relics are there," she said at a press conference in Kiev.
Experts cannot say to whom the holy relics belong, as it is impossible to perform a DNA test, she said.
Mazur also said that two valuable icons had already been returned from the monastery to the National Kiev-Pechersk Historic and Cultural Reserve.
"As of today, the monastery had handed over the two most valuable objects to the reserve. [...] I may be mistaken, but it's two icons, two pendants, which were returned," she said.
Many structures have been built on the territory of the reserve during its lease by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and some were not built in accordance with the permits that were issued, she said.
"Some of them were built on the basis of permits that were issued in previous years. Some were built with deviations from those permits. A criminal case has now been opened on the basis of the information we have," the deputy minister said.
Asked whether these circumstances would justify severing the lease with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Mazur said, "Right now, no, not because we deny that there have been irregularities, but because they'd be waiting for such a step from the state in order to react in the wrong way. The state will not do so."
An inspection of the presence and conditions of storage of cultural valuables located in the National Kiev-Pechersk Historic and Cultural Reserve was conducted at the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra between November 21 and December 17, 2018. Ten objects were reported missing.