YEKATERINBURG, June 16. /TASS/. The eparchy in Russia’s Urals city of Yekaterinburg has refused to build the Saint Catherine’s Cathedral at a proposed site in the city center following a public outcry.
In a statement released on Sunday, the eparchy said the cathedral should be constructed "at a worthy site." "In the atmosphere of a total lie and deception, even the site chosen openly and honestly by the majority of citizens would still become an apple of discord <…> We obediently <…> surrender our right to build the Saint Catherine’s Cathedral in the square next to the drama theater," Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye said.
The metropolitan noted that recent events have united the believers. "We would like our concession to be a reason for peace rather than for a new wave of confrontation." He also thanked the citizens for sending their proposals on the new sites, stressing that the construction would begin soon. According to the metropolitan, it won’t be built "in any square, a green area or on a public territory."
The opinion poll, which is set to choose the construction site, will be held in mid-September, Igor Volodin, who chairs the city’s Duma and heads a working group in charges of the poll, told TASS.
The mayor of the city, Alexander Vysokinsky backed the eparchy’s decision in his official statement. "The believers defended their rights legally, calmly and in a measured way, hoping that the authorities will ensure justice. <...> I agree with Metropolitan Kirill that the site chosen by all citizens should become worthy for the central cathedral of the city and the authorities together with the citizens should guarantee the construction at this place. Therefore, it is so important to conduct a citywide survey, the work on which we will continue," he said.
In May, unauthorized rallies began in Yekaterinburg against the plans to rebuild the cathedral in the park instead of its original site. The Saint Catherine’s Cathedral is expected to be built by 2023, when Yekaterinburg will celebrate its 300th anniversary. Russian President Vladimir Putin said a survey on the cathedral’s construction should be conducted among the city’s residents. Later, Yekaterinburg’s administration called on citizens to suggest new sites for the cathedral’s construction.