Media: renaming a street after head of RCC in Zaporozhye may cause protests

Pope John Paul II. Photo: polski.pro

On November 27, deputies of the Zaporozhye City Council intend to take a decision on the issue of renaming Zavodskaya Street.

The process of renaming Zavodskaya Street after Pope John Paul II canonized by Pope Francis may provoke large-scale protests from Zaporozhye residents, writes the online edition “Vesti.ua".

Journalists cited Metropolitan Luke (Kovalenko) of Zaporozhye and Melitopol, whom the residents of Zaporozhye asked to explain for what merits the street in their city should be named after the Catholic Pontiff.

“We have nothing against the Pope, but, for example, why do Catholics in Rome not have St. Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Vladimir Square or Holy Martyr Vladimir, Metropolitan of Kiev Square? And the Cossacks described this proposal as a spit in the face of the Zaporozhye Cossacks because for centuries the Cossacks considered the struggle against Union and Catholic expansion as their immediate task,” said Metropolitan Luke.

He recalled that in 2015, more than 4,500 citizens turned to city council deputies with a proposal to name one of the streets that were renamed as part of the decommunization after Metropolitan Vladimir, “due to whose support more than three hundred churches were opened and built in the Zaporozhye region” (as it was said in the draft resolution – Ed.).

“However, the commission members in a vulgar form rejected our initiative,” said Vladyka Luke. “On behalf of the people, those who live at their expense are trying to deprive us of our history, to make us a gray, amorphous mass!”

People’s deputy of the "Servant of the People" party Sergei Shtepa, in turn, said that he does not yet know which name the residents stand for.

According to the political strategist Andrei Zolotarev, what is happening in Zaporozhye is a process of changing the identity of the people.

“Kiev, Zaporozhye and other cities are imposed values alien to them, which can have far more serious consequences than just cultural and historical searching,” he said.

Political analyst Kirill Molchanov also commented on the situation around the renaming and drew the attention of journalists to the fact that in Zaporozhye “there is no strong Catholic community to push the name of the street through the City Council”. He suggested that representatives of local authorities are most likely guided by personal political motives in this matter. Molchanov is sure that in Zaporozhye the idea of renaming the street after the head of the UGCC will cause much greater turbulence than renaming Cosmonaut Komarov Avenue in Kiev after Liubomir Guzar.

We recall that in September 2019, the mayor of Kiev, Vitaliy Klitschko, submitted for consideration by the Kiev City Council a draft decision on renaming Komarov Avenue to Liubomir Guzar Avenue. He noted that the renaming of the avenue would not require additional funds from the city budget and explained his proposal with the desire “to honor the memory of the outstanding Ukrainian religious leader Liubomir Guzar”.

On October 2, 2019, the Permanent Commission of the Kiev City Council for Culture, Tourism and Information Policy supported this project. Members of the commission stated that "the contribution of the archbishop to the development of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is difficult to overestimate" and emphasized the "national rather than the local significance of the UGCC".

On November 14, 2019, the Kiev City Council decided to rename Cosmonaut Komarov Avenue into Liubomir Guzar Avenue.

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