The opposition has United against the St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Russian Orthodox Church

St. Isaac’s Cathedral in Saint-Petersburg

Photo: Anton Vaganov/TASS

In St. Petersburg the opposition has United to fight the transfer of the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Isaac’s Cathedral. The coalition plans on Friday, January 13, to hold a rally on the steps of the Cathedral

The coalition includes Yabloko, “Fair Russia” PARNASSUS, “Open Russia” and the Party of growth, said the leader of the St. Petersburg branch of PARNAS, and the “Open Russia” Andrey Pivovarov. “Overall, the coalition will create a massive protest like the one that has been in the monetization of benefits. We still have time to cancel the decision to transfer the Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church”, — he said RBC.

The Deputy of Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg from the Yabloko faction Boris Vishnevsky confirmed to RBC that the opposition has United to fight the transfer of the monument to the jurisdiction of the ROC. He noted that the coalition plans on Friday, January 13, to hold a rally at the entrance to the Cathedral. Event to be held in the format of the meeting with the deputies.

“A group of deputies from three factions — your humble servant from the “Apple” Maxim Reznik from the Party of growth and Alexey Kovalev from “Fair Russia” — will hold an extended meeting of the organizing Committee of the future campaign to protect the St. Isaac’s Cathedral right at its steps. There we will take further decisions and discuss them with the citizens of St. Petersburg who want to participate in it,” said Wisniewski.

Opponents of the transfer Council also intends to prepare a lawsuit. According to the Deputy, the Governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko had no reason to declare the preparation of transmission of the Cathedral Church. Thus, the law “On transfer to religious organizations property of religious significance owned by the state or municipal ownership” requires that an application from a religious organization on the transfer of an object, and the decision of the authorities were published online. In the case of St. Isaac’s Cathedral, this did not happen, indicates Wisniewski, who sent a Deputy request addressed Poltavchenko with the request to explain the reason for the transfer of the Cathedral of the diocese.

In 2015, the group of deputies of the legislative Assembly, including Wisniewski has introduced a bill to limit the transfer of facilities to religious organisations, which are architectural monuments. He was rejected by the legislative Assembly. “We will introduce another bill it has drafted a legal opinion. Its meaning is very simple: when it comes to state museums that make up the national heritage, they are not transferred to religious organizations, and with them is an agreement on the possibility of holding liturgical events to the rights of believers were also provided. This is enough for St. Isaac’s Cathedral including: there are services”, — said the Deputy.

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The Communist party leader in the legislative Assembly of the city Olga Godunova RBC reported that the fraction of negative attitude to “the transmission of cultural monuments of any denominations.” She noted that only a public outcry can influence the situation. “We will encourage citizens and included in all activities,” he assured Hodunova.

The Russian branch of anti-corruption organization Transparency International prepares legal justification of illegality of the transfer of the Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church, told RBC the head of its St. Petersburg branch Dmitry Sukharev. “We are currently exploring this question. At least we can say that the law of restitution (this refers to the Federal law “On transfer to religious organizations property of religious significance owned by the state or municipal property”) provides for a term of six years, during which objects are passed to the property. You can’t just give the building in the same year,” he said. The organization also will test whether the decision to transfer the Church to the Church of a conflict of interest: “we Need to understand whether it is a fact that the Governor Poltavchenko as Church-going people actually depends on the ROC”.

Of the impending transfer of the Cathedral to the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church until December of 2017 reported by “Fontanka” with reference to anonymous sources in the administration of St. Petersburg. The interlocutor of the edition noted that to complete the task by year-end will fail “because of paperwork”. “Most likely, the real term in 2019”, — he stressed. January 10, St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko confirmed that “the question of the transfer of St. Isaac’s Cathedral in the use of the Russian Orthodox Church resolved”. He said that he agreed with Patriarch Kirill and the Council “will maintain a Museum and educational function”.

The Director of the Museum Nikolai Burov, told RBC that the administration will evaluate the consequences of the transfer of the Cathedral to the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church. According to him, now the Cathedral serves as an important source of income, and after his loss to the Museum complex will cease to be self-sustaining.
  

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