A small but ornately-styled wooden church 80 kilometers from Kyiv is the unlikely home of a museum dedicated to the history of the Soviet space program. Visitors are often surprised when they enter to find they are in Ukraine’s Museum of Space Exploration instead of a church. When I first heard about it, I thought it was a genius idea for preserving the old church architecture by finding a new use and a new sponsor for the building. But the reason the museum is there is much more complicated. The church was never actually abandoned, although the museum exhibits have been there since 1979. Journalist Sébastien Gobert explains.
The building is a physical manifestation of the Soviets’ attempt to eliminate religion and replace it with space dreams. For now, it looks like the building will remain a museum. Today, the museum’s uncertain future reflects the religious tensions in the country, sparked by the Ukrainian Othodox Church’s split from the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church, one of the biggest schisms in Christian history.
As Gobert explains: “Local church authorities have struggled to have [the museum] back as a church. It has become even more complicated because of the Ukrainian church’s feud: the church used to be claimed by the Moscow patriarchate. Now it is claimed by the newly established church of Ukraine. The Moscow patriarchate local priest kind of gave up on his claim provided it does not go to the church of Ukraine. ‘Better a museum than schismatics’, father Feodossiy said.”
Take a look inside the Museum of Space Exploration at The Calvert Journal. -via Nag on the Lake
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