2019-04-15 10:50:00

Peter the Great's charter by which he appoints Metropolitan of Kiev delivered to Ukraine from Germany

Kiev, April 15, Interfax - A historic document signed by Russian Emperor Peter I and dated 1708 was brought back from Germany to Ukraine on Friday night, Ukrainian Culture Minister Yevgeny Nishchuk said.

"We celebrate an extraordinary event tonight: a unique cultural property - a historic document, a letter of Peter I, came to Ukraine from Germany. [...] The artefact dated 1708 was lost during World War II. Since late 1950s, it had been kept in the library of the Institute for Eastern European History and Area Studies at University of Tubingen (the federal state of Baden Wurttemberg)," Nishchuk wrote on Facebook on Saturday.

The minister revealed that he and his deputy Tamara Mazur went together to Kiev's Borispol Airport to meet the artifact. Nishchuk illustrated his post with some photos.

It is "an extremely interesting manuscript on parchment," Nishchuk said. The manuscript is in a silver gilt case and has a size of 80x58 cm.

The document was immediately sent to the National Reserve Sophia Kievskaya (Sophia of Kiev), where it will soon be presented to the public, he said.

According to historians, the document is expressly indicative of "an annexation of the Ukrainian local Church by Muscovy," he went on. "Since it contains a reservation made by Peter I that Moscow had strong fears that the Metropolitan of Kiev would return under the wing of Constantinople," Nishchuk said.

The transfer of the manuscript took place thanks to the work done by the intergovernmental commission on the return of cultural properties displaced during World War II. The commission was led by Ukraine's First Deputy Culture Minister Svetlana Fomenko and Germany's Doctor Michel Jansen.

Media reported earlier that on March 14, 2019, Germany's State Secretary of Federal Foreign Office Walter Lindner gave Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andrey Melnik a charter on the appointment of a Kiev metropolitan signed by Russian Tsar Peter I the Great in 1708. The ceremony took place at the German ministry in Berlin. In this document, Peter I confirms the metropolitan's appointment. The document also stipulates his rights and the position of the Metropolia of Kiev.

Before World War II, the artifact was kept in the Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine in Kiev and, according to experts, was carted off to Germany during the Nazi occupation.