In the week leading up to Easter, the Church of Saint Nicholas of Myra has opened its doors to parishioners for the first time. For years now, one of Ukraine's leading gas producers, the International Energy Group Burisma owned by Nikolay Zlochevskyi has been a loyal benefactor to the church.
"In 1998, near the village of Demydiv the local community put up a memorial cross and conducted a service on the spot, where Jesus Christ is believed to have appeared before two shepherd boys on July 30, 1926. And it was only in 2011 that the first stone of a holy church was laid. We couldn't have done it without the help of Nikolay Zlochevskyi", says the prior of the church, priest Oleh. "In the future, we are planning to build facilities for monks and parishioners, along with a refectory, a prosthesis and a Sunday school".
"Sacred sites have special spiritual significance to many people and constitute intangible cultural heritage. They should be maintained and bestowed upon future generations", says the President at Burisma Group Nikolay Zlochevskyi.
This is not the first time that Burisma Group rises to the occasion to preserve Ukraine's spiritual heritage. For many years, the Group has been providing funds to restore the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra. In particular, Burisma has contributed to the reconstruction of fortress walls and Lavra Hospital, where the Saint Agapetus of Pechersk temple is located. Agapetus of Pechersk was a famous monk and doctor in the times of Kievan Rus. In 2014, his holy relic was transferred from the Near Caves to the Refectory Church. In 1941, the Refectory Church was seriously damaged in the explosion of the Uspensky Cathedral. Burisma Group has been a large contributor to the restoration of both buildings.
"Thanks to the generous support from Burisma, we have renovated the dome, roof, walls, windows, and most importantly, elaborate baroque frescoes of the church. The government used to help us in small ways, now, however, this help is practically nonexistent. We are eternally grateful to Mr. Zlochevskyi for his ongoing support and involvement", says Metropolitan Pavlo, senior priest at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.
According to him, amid political turmoil, many seem to have forgotten that the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra is more than the city's most famous landmark. It is one of the very first monasteries of Kievan Rus and one of the most important Orthodox treasures listed among UNESCO World Heritage sites.