The reason is emergency situation in the labyrinths of the Near Caves, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
"Recently, the level of soil moisture has increased. If urgent measures are not taken, there is a threat of destruction of the labyrinths of caves, which can lead to irreparable losses and human casualties" said in a letter from Metropolitan to the Prime Minister.
Why urgent action is needed?
The Metropolitan explains the situation as follows:
"Long-term depreciation and unsatisfactory condition of underground engineering communications, as well as spring snow melting lead to saturation of the aquifer above the caves and flooding of the cave complex. Constant monitoring of the state of the labyrinths of the Near Caves indicates that the level of moisture in the soils where the monument is located has significantly increased recently. According to the results of the commissions of technical and economic safety and emergency situations, repeatedly convened regarding the state of the emergency sections of the caves, the situation is defined as an emergency of a regional scale. "
At the same time, he clarified that these areas are involved in the pilgrimage route. That is, if you do not take action, the situation can lead to irreparable losses. And even to the victims.
In these areas there are monks who carry out obedience in the caves themselves. The route itself is very popular among tourists; on ordinary days, hundreds of people can walk along it, including many children. On holidays - even more.
The Near Caves also contain dozens of relics that are revered shrines throughout the world.
Thus, Metropolitan Pavlo asked the Prime Minister "to consider the possibility of allocating funds from the reserve fund of the state budget for urgent emergency work", as well as "to issue appropriate instructions to the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Finance."
What caves are we talking about?
The Near Caves are a complex of underground caves in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. They are 1.5 meters wide and 2.5 meters high. The total length is 383 meters.
This place is also called Anthony caves.
Founded in 1057, when Saint Anthony named Saint Barlaam the first abbot of the Kyiv Pechersk Monastery. Monk Anthony took himself out of the monastery and later settled on a new hill, where he dug a new underground room, and this place is now the location of the Near Caves.
A large number of dwelling cells have been preserved in the caves. The burial place of the Monk Anthony is located in an obstructed branch of the caves opposite the church in his honor, built in the late 16th - early 17th centuries.