Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko said on Jan. 12 that the ministry supports dismantling a Russian-affiliated Orthodox church building on the territory of the National Museum of Ukraine’s History in central Kyiv.
The building is located next to the ruins of the Desyatynna Church (Church of the Tithes, or the Dormition Church), which was built in the 10th century and became the first stone church in Kyivan Rus.
According to Tkachenko, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate began illegally seizing the site where the building is located in 2008.
The church was built without any construction permits, Tkachenko said.
The museum filed a lawsuit seeking to demolish the church back in 2020, the minister said.
The trial is still ongoing, he said, adding that the next hearing will take place on Jan. 18.
Since November, Ukraine has conducted nationwide raids on religious sites that belong to the Russian-controlled church – during which authorities say they have so far found Russian passports, anti-Ukrainian propaganda, and a stolen collection of icons.
In December, Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council proposed banning the Russian-controlled Orthodox church.
The council instructed the Cabinet to draft a bill on such a ban. The bill is expected to be considered by the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament.
The Moscow-affiliated church's lease on part of the Ukraine's main monastery, the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, expired on Jan. 1, although still controls the remaining part of the Lavra.
The independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which is seeking to get control over the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, held a Christmas service at the monastery for the first time on Jan. 7.