Orthodox Church decides not to build in Ekaterinburg


ETV, 16 June 2019


Attempts to build a church to Saint Catherine have been going on nine years now. There were three versions: originally, at Labor Square, then the shore of the City Pond, and now a park on October Square.

And every time after protests by citizens, believers were forced to reject the site.


Today, the renunciation of building in the area near the Drama Theatre was officially announced by Metropolitan of Ekaterinburg and Verkhotursk Kirill. (tr. by PDS, posted 17 June 2019)



Interfax-Religiia, 16 June 2019


The head of Ekaterinburg, Alexander Vysokinsky, called the letter by Metropolitan Kirill, which announced the renunciation of the right to build a cathedral in a park near the Drama Theatre, a wise and courageous step by believers, the press service of the city administration reported on Sunday.


"I understand how difficult this decision turned out to be. How much effort the local patriarchate expended in order to prevent open conflicts and the entry of Orthodox activists into the park. Believers defended their rights legally, peacefully, and carefully, hoping for justice from the authorities. And here I can say that in this situation the authorities did not let anybody down: we conducted negotiations with representatives of all sides. The site on October Square was not omitted from the sociological survey. And the whole city was given the chance to decide where the church will be built," the report quoted Vysokinsky.


He emphasized that the believers have now three times in recent years placed the good of the whole city above everything.


"On the other hand, I agree with Metropolitan Kirill that the site chosen by all citizens should be worthy of the central cathedral church of the city and the government and citizens must guarantee construction on that site. Therefore the conducting of a city-wide survey is very important, and we are continuing work on it," the mayor noted.


As reported, the Ekaterinburg diocese abandoned its right to build the cathedral in a park near the Drama Theatre in the oblast center.


"In an atmosphere of total falsehood and deception, even a site chosen openly and honestly by a majority of citizens still will become a cause of discord for people who wish to arouse the ancient demon of civic strife. We would not want to give the devil such an opportunity, and thus in submission to Divine Providence, which leads us in ways known only to Him, we renounce our right to build the cathedral of Saint Catherine in the park near the Drama Theatre," the letter by Metropolitan of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturye Kirill says, which was read on Sunday, the feast of the Trinity, in churches of the diocese.


After this, the government of Ekaterinburg announced that it plans to conduct a survey on 14-15 September, as a result of which a site will be chosen for building the church of St. Catherine. The chairman of the city duma, Igor Volodin, reported that the territory of the park near the Drama Theatre will be omitted from the list of places for construction of the church.


In mid-May in the center of Ekaterinburg, massive demonstrations of protest against building the church of St. Catherine in the park on October Square by the Drama Theatre were held. After a week of protests and arrests, and also an assessment of what was happening expressed by President Vladimir Putin, the governor of Sverdlovsk oblast, Evgeny Kuivashev, sent to residents of Ekaterinburg a request to discuss alternative sites for building the church.


A survey conducted by VTsIOM showed that 74% of those questioned consider the park an inappropriate spot for building a church. At the same time, only 18% of the residents of the city oppose the construction of a church.


Ekaterinburg authorities declared their readiness to conduct a survey in order to take into account the opinion of citizens about the site for building a church. In all, residents proposed to the authorities more than 60 sites for a church. Experts chose six sites from among the 13 most popular ones, including the park around which the disputes arose. Vysokinsky suggested leaving no more than four sites on the short list for construction. An expert group of deputies, public leaders, and representatives of the diocese is working to determine the format for voting on the selection of the site for the church. (tr. by PDS, posted 17 June 2019)

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