ON THE PATRIARCH’S FUNERAL


photography, video, graphics
The Naked Room
Kyiv, Ukraine
2020
The second event in the series called "A Brief Introduction to the Recent History of Orthodoxy in Ukraine", in which I explore, rethink and return to public discussion the little-studied and ambiguous historical events of the recent past.

Photos by Yevgen Nikiforov




The project is based on the story of the funeral of the UOC-KP patriarch Volodymyr (Romaniuk), historically important and significant for its time, but little-known today, which took place in Kyiv on July 18, 1995. On that day, a conflict erupted over the authorities' unauthorized intention to bury the patriarch on the territory of St. Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv, despite an agreed decision to bury him in the central alley of the Baykovo Cemetery.

This event left behind several names: "Black Tuesday", "Bloody Tuesday", "Second Sofia Massacre". Mass riots involving internal troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Berkut special unit, deputies of the Verkhovna Rada, members of the nationalist organization UNA-UNSO, representatives of the clergy and ordinary believers led to numerous injuries among the participants of the funeral procession. Eventually, the patriarch was buried in the square near the walls of the bell tower of St. Sophia Cathedral, where he rests up to this day.
The exhibition deliberately gives a fragmentary view of the 1995 event: instead of a holistic narrative, it focuses on gaps, stratifications and black spots. And such a view of the past seems to me to be frank and honest.
The exhibition does not contain documentary footage and images of violence, the impressive procession of thousands, nor does it mention the exact famous personalities that were participating in. It is important for me not to give the audience an "introductory word", and therefore not to impose previous biased interpretations of the event itself, its possible continuation and consequences. Instead, I’m interested in alternative, potentially plausible solutions.