Metropolitan Tikhon Is Concerned About the State of the Cathedral of the Assumption, but Has Not Yet Found Understanding From the Director of the Vladimir Museum

The bell tower is planned to be restored with sponsor money

The Dormition Cathedral is in dire need of renovation, said Metropolitan Tikhon, head of the Vladimir diocese. The gilding on the domes of one of the main tourist attractions in the region is peeling, and trees are growing in the bell tower, which has stood unrepaired for 75 years. The ROC recently received the bell tower by restitution, and now, with money from a sponsor, the church has ordered a plan for illumination, then hopes to complete a reconstruction plan and find money for the work itself. As for the main temple, which is in joint use of the church and the Vladimir-Suzdal Museum Reserve, its fate is still unclear.

“I think that we will also order the repair of the bell tower, because there are trees growing in some places. The cathedral needs a good restoration. Both from the domes and from the spire, as you can see, the gilding is peeling off. Everything is rusty. This does not embellish us as Vladimir citizens. I promise that I will take all measures to ensure that such work begins. At least in those places which we agreed with the State Monument Protection Inspectorate, “- said Tikhon.

At a press conference on February 9, Metropolitan Tikhon confessed that so far, communication between the museum and the Diocese is conducted through business correspondence and the church leaders have not seen any particular enthusiasm on the part of the General Director of the All-Russian Art Museum of Minorities and Monuments Sergei Rybakov.

About the bell tower of the Assumption Cathedral:

“Recently, at my request, the Assumption Cathedral, the bell tower, was handed over. This is the cathedral where my main place of ministry is. When I learned the history of the cathedral, I learned that in 1944, at the request of then-Bishop Anisim Festinatov, Comrade Stalin himself transferred the cathedral to the Russian Orthodox Church. For many years the cathedral was in disrepair, and reconstruction began. Then in 1977 the chapel was transferred to the All-Union Philharmonic Museum and placed under UNESCO protection. We have an agreement on joint use. There is a time for museum, there is a time for church service. And this altar is the property of the museum.

St.George Transfiguration Cathedral, which is located between the main cathedral and the bell tower – is the property of the diocese. The bell tower had been forgotten and for 75 years no one owned it. Of course, it was on the balance sheet of the Federal Property Management Agency, but for 75 years there was no repair. It was dilapidated. There was plywood instead of glass. We had no right to start repairing it. It had nothing to do with us. Last year the last lantern in the cathedral lighting went out. Our Christmas trees are bright and beautiful, but the cathedral is not illuminated. Naturally, we couldn’t leave it that way. I had talks with the museum, with Svetlana Melnikova, and with the head of the city, Andrei Shokhin. We didn’t see much enthusiasm for it, it was a costly affair. God sent one private philanthropist. He took it upon himself to do the lighting project for free. We coordinated it with the city and the museum. They wanted something a little different, but we agreed to do the lighting according to old models.

This case is expensive, when we calculated how many small projectors are needed. Only for 6.5 million spotlights. We have yet to find those who would pay for this illumination. Right now the project is being done for free for now.”

About the relationship with the new management of the VSMZ:

Melnikova is a woman. So we had a warmer, friendlier relationship. We always participated in all the conferences. Now this coronavirus, we try to have minimal meetings, but we try to correspond with [VSMPZ general director Sergey] Rybakov. The other day we met in the Drama Theater, because Nikolay Petrovich Burlyaev came. It turned out that I’m friends with him for many years and he is too. We went to a meeting with the audience together, and then we had tea. Well, it seems we have no clashes, but also no special cooperation. They held Speransky’s evening, our student went and received the Speransky Prize.

While in correspondence we talked about putting in order the Assumption Cathedral. Since half of them are there, and half are ours… it will not be possible for one of us to demand something from someone else. There is only one object, and we have to work together to restore it. It’s closer to the Ministry of Culture, so we can have some local reserves, and the Ministry of Culture can bring [the cathedral] to order.

I have already written a letter to our Alexander Avdeev. I also asked him to pay attention to the Assumption Cathedral. It is the main decoration of our city, our monument. It is important that it was put in order.

Dmitry Artyukh, “Zebra-TV”: Judging by our correspondence with him [Rybakov], in my opinion, he is not very concerned and does not make any decisive steps to order the project under the chapel. We can all see the state it’s in, and he says, “It’s okay. The Church is concerned about the condition of the main part of the Cathedral of the Assumption?

Metropolitan Tikhon: You know, I say in such cases, “Life will make.” After all, there are still people. You don’t want to look ugly in front of people. We are entrusted with this and we have to do it. You never know. I can also say that there is no money and no people. This is not taken into account. You were given, since you agreed [to head the museum], get it in order. I think pressure from your side would be helpful, too. I, for example, pay attention to it.

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