Authorities Don’t Return Bernardine Monastery to Catholics

2007 2007-06-04T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”


On 28 May defenders of the monastery complex of the 17th century Ivona Matsukevich and Hanna Siuchyk met the head of Minsk city executive committee Mikhail Paulau. On behalf of believers the activists tried to find out about the future of the buildings of the church and Bernardine monastery which authorities plan to rebuild into a hotel complex.

As said by Ivona Matsukevich, during the conversation Mikhail Paulau said that ‘we are the power and we are to decide what to build and how to use this or that building’. The head of Minsk city executive committee confirmed the earlier plans to turn the former monastery into a trade and hotel complex, Nasha Niva informs.

To the question about the building of former St. Joseph’s church, Paulau answered that it would be made over to communal property and turned into a social and general-purpose building. At the same time, Paulau assured that ‘sacrilege’ of the building of the church would not take place.

During the conversation Paulau referred to an expert evaluation of buildings by Culture Ministry, which had found ‘nothing sacred’ in them.

When we asked to consider the matter once again, the mayor said: ‘We have decided so; we are the authority; we have to feed people’, Ivona Matsukevich said.

According to her, more than 12 000 signatures from people all over the world have been collected in defense of the shrine. However there is still no answer to the address to the Presidential Administration. Meanwhile, preparation for construction works is carried out in the monastery. Believers continue praying for return of the sacred place and hope against hope.