Believers Continue to Collect Signatures for Rescuing Bernardine Monastery. Ministry of Culture says the plans to build a hotel there are legal.
Information about alleged temporary suspension of signature collection in defense of Bernardine monastery and the church led to many misunderstandings.
Aliaksei Shein, co-chairperson of the organizing committee of Belarusian Christian Democracy party, told Nasha Niva, that they had not initiated the signature collection that is why they did not have the power to suspend it. A mistake was made: Belarusian Christian Democracy is campaigning in defense of the right to freedom of consciousness (signature collection for amending the appropriate law). New initiatives, local churches and Christian denominations joined the campaign, that is why the organized suspended it for some time.
Mr. Shein added: “Vice versa, Belarusian Christian Democracy completely supports the idea of collecting signatures in defense of the monastery complex. And we try to help as much as we can”.
Belarusian Catholics started to collect signatures on March 7, when they learned about the intention of the Minsk authorities to reconstruct the building of the monastery and the church and build a hotel and an entertainment center inside.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture officials believe, the project of reconstructing the baroque buildings of the Bernardine monastery of the 17th century into a hotel is legal.
Ihar Charniauski, deputy head of the department for preservation of historic and cultural heritage of the Ministry of Culture told BelaPAN, in January 2007 Minskpraject company received permission from the Ministry of Culture to carry out scientific research and draw a project of reconstruction and restoration of the buildings ##6 and #8 at Kiryla and Methodius Street.
He says, in particular, the project provides for archeological research, restoration of the most valuable authentic parts of the buildings. As the result of the project, a hotel complex will be constructed. By its features, including the decoration elements, the form and the color range the hotel will be adjusted to the existing assembly. At the same time, Charniauski says, taking into account the significance of the building, in his opinion, the authorities should think about organizing a museum instead of the hotel there.