Ukrainian bureaucracy torments Ukrainian Catholics

Prior of Roman Catholic congregation in the city of Smela, father Alexandr Gursky has brought a suit against high functionaries of Cherkassy Regional State Administration accusing them of inactivity which caused destruction of cultural monument of national importance. The question is about Our Lady Assumption temple in the city of Smela. It was built in 1818 and after the October Revolution used for different aims, including cultural ones – as a club. In 1998, Catholic community of Smela tried to return the temple according to the legislation. According to father Alexandr Gursky, they had to address to different institutions: from the head of the city to Public Prosecutor General Mikhail Potebenko and the President of Ukraine. Nobody of them liked such activity of the believers. In January of that year, some unknown persons set the temple on fire, which did not burned even in the war time. Only after these heroic efforts, it turned out possible “to prove to the functionaries the necessity to fulfil constitutional norms and the President decrees.” June 26, 2000, the temples were returned to the believers. In the invoice, there was written: “Church – one piece.” The community was ready to restore the temple on itself (however, according to the law, it was not its duty). Though, it had one more time to prove the obvious. According to Alexandr Gursky, not only the temple needs to be restored, but the parish house too. The believers wanted to turn the house into a chapel, while the temple was being restored. Though, the community still cannot get the house back, however the legislation foresees it. Functionaries of different levels did not react to the community’s requests. So, the community decided to achieve justice through a civilized way – through the court. April 25, Alexandr Gursky addressed to the Public Prosecutor Office of the city of Cherkassy demanding to acknowledge him being a civil plaintiff. The Office’s answer was not connected with the demand. Afterwards, the father addressed to Smela city court complaining of the functionaries: in particular, the question was about depriving the believers their right to carry out religious ceremonies. The court returned the application referring to lack in the application of full first name of the functionary and his address. Though, to determine the address turned out to be completely impossible. According to father Alexandr, the community does not want scandals, though if the only way to obtain the truth is the court, so the community will act through court, if even that will be the Strasbourg Court.

Andrei Lubensky PRAVDA.Ru Kiev Ukraine

Translated by Vera Solovieva

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