Moscow, March 15, Interfax - There is currently no clear position on the transfer of the Spaso-Andronikov Monastery to the Russian Orthodox Church, but the presence of museum artifacts there needs to be taken into account when making a decision on this matter, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday.
"The issue is quite a new one, and therefore there is currently no position here. Additionally, there are museum artifacts, which should of course be taken into account when deciding on this issue," Peskov said.
"However, I repeat, there is as of yet no clear position," Peskov said.
Sergey Karnaukhov, the head of the movement for the monastery's revival, told Interfax earlier on Friday that Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia had written to Vadim Yakovenko, the head of the Federal Agency for State Property Management (Rosimushchestvo), asking him to transfer Moscow's Spaso-Andronikov Monastery to the Russian Orthodox Church.
"It is not a request. Under the law, this letter is enough for the transfer of the monastery to the Church," Karnaukhov said.
The Russian Orthodox Church confirmed to Interfax that the patriarch has sent a letter to Rosimushchestvo. This deals with the transfer to the Church of such federal status objects of cultural heritage as the 15th century Spassky Cathedral, the 16th century dining chamber, a brethren's building and the 17th century father superior's chamber, the 17th century Church of Archangel Michael, etc.
The Spaso-Andronikov Monastery is where reverend Andrey Rublev was tonsured and lived as a monk. A fragment of his paintings has been preserved in the altar of the Spassky Cathedral, one of the oldest Moscow churches outside the Kremlin.