Ukrainian Ministry of Culture Demands The “Decommunization” of Saint Aleksandr Nevsky

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture decided that it has the right to censorship of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and also to decide who can be a Saint for it and who should be forgotten.

This was reported by the Ukrainian journalist Vyacheslav Pikhovshek on his blog:

“Political inquisition of our time, Ministry of Culture, and the director of the Department of Religious and Ethnic Affairs of the Ministry of Culture Yurash in an interview to ‘Detector media’ said publicly and officially: ‘the ruling bishop Metropolitan Mitrofan of Lugansk was present together with representatives of the so-called LPR on the consecration of the place where monuments to Aleksander Nevsky will appear. It is known that Nevsky is a symbol of military glory, power, and a victory of Russia. Having consecrated these places on the territory of the Lugansk region, he consecrated the conditional borders of the ‘Russian world”,” reported the journalist.

Pikhovshek also presents the answer of the Lugansk Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church to the demands of the official from the Ministry of Culture:

“Lord Mitrofan, Metropolitan of Lugansk and Alchevsk: “it was consecration of a stone for the construction of a monument to Saint blessed Aleksandr Nevsky. And it occurred on the territory of the temple devoted to this Saint. The idea of installing a monument to this Saint was sounded already prior to military operations, in 2013. At that time, the 300th anniversary of Aleksandr Nevskaya Lavra in St. Petersburg was celebrated, and this choir of the Lavra came to Lugansk. The pronounced words can’t be interpreted as the sermon of the ‘Russian world’ in any way. I spoke about how Saint Aleksandr Nevsky matters in history, and not only of Russia, but also of Ukraine and Belarus. Especially as this Saint is honoured not only in these states, but practically around the world”.

Vyacheslav Pikhovshek illustrated the absurdity of the demands of the Ukrainian authorities in the following example:

“If in modern Ukraine power already decides itself who for our Church is a Saint, then I propose the following. Officially, on behalf of Yurash, to demand the closing of:

  • Temple-Monument of Saint Aleksandr Nevsky — a patriarchal cathedral of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in the capital of Bulgaria in Sofia.
  • Saint Aleksandr Nevsky Cathedral in Paris.

  • San Alexandro Nevski and God’s Mother Protection Church in Biarritz, France.
  • Church of the blessed prince Aleksandr Nevsky in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Aleksandr Nevsky Church on Saint Stephen Island, Montenegro,” it is written by the journalist.

According to him, the only law on the basis of which in Ukraine it is possible to forbid a surname of someone is one of the laws on decommunization — No. 317-VIII, which contains an exhaustive list of forbidden surnames: “names or pseudonyms of persons holding senior positions in the Communist party, from positions of the secretary of the regional committee and above, to supreme bodies of power and management of the USSR, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic”.

So, Pikhovshek notes, the official from the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture must “prove that the Saint Prince Aleksandr Nevsky held a senior positions in the Communist party, from positions of the secretary of the regional committee and above, to supreme bodies of power and management of the USSR, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic”.

Moreover, the journalist suggested to Ukrainian officials with the name Yurash to order the head of the unrecognized in the orthodox world “Kiev patriarchy” Filaret “to cease to serve in front of the iconostasis of St Vladimir Cathedral – because there among Saints is also Prince Aleksandr Nevsky. Otherwise it is nonsense: Filaret burns incense before a symbol of the Russian world, and Yurash demands nothing from him,” ironically summarizes Pikhovshek.

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