- July 21, 2014
State delays returning the monastery to the Order
The government is looking for experts whose conclusions will help to decide whether the buildings of the Franciscan monastery in Vilnius, located by the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Piaski, can return to the Order of Friars Minor Conventual. Although the Supreme Court decision was already made in February 2013, the State is in no hurry to fulfill the act of restitution of the property.
Ministry of Economy, which is required to prepare a documentation of handing over the monastery to the Order, recently announced an auction for preparing the technical specification of the complex of the monastic buildings.
The idea istodetermine whether theareaof the monasterywas not increasedby more thana third part, so that the newly createdarea can beseparated fromthe formerand that themain structuresof the buildinghave not beenchangedmore than 50percent. If so,return of the monastery tothe Franciscanfatherswould be impossible.
From the announced auction, we learn that the experts will be asked to collect and analyze archival materials, prepare the assessment of the current state of the buildings and to present proposals before 19th November.
It is true, asstated before inOctober 2013, that theexaminationcarried outduring the trial showedthat there was noevidence ofchange ofthe monastery building. Department ofProtection of Monumentsalsoconfirmed that there were no significant changes in the building, sinceit isa monumentand cannotbe changed.Inventoryof the buildingshowed thatit is90 percentauthentic.
It also stressed by the President of the State Commission for the Cultural Heritage Gražina Drėmaitė. “In Soviet times, the monastery has undergone a renovation, but the fact that the interior walls were painted, it does not mean anything. The issue of the return of the monastery to the Order is a matter of whether we are a country of law that respects the law. Buildings should be returned to the owners, it is undisputed and indisputable fact. All other theories or excuses are simple manipulation “- says G. Drėmaitė.
Franciscan Fathers for years are struggling with the official machinery, striving for the return of the monastery. According to the words of the abbot Marek Dettlaff, guardian of the monastery and the rector of the church of the Franciscans, “everything is in the air, there is no official information”.
The Franciscans, who count on their presencein Vilniussince the thirteenth century, are convincedthat the buildingshould be returnedto them.
“We have a vision and we are prepared to take the building, to utilize it, so it can serve the society and the church. We intend to continue there our cultural, educational and evangelizing activity “- emphasizes the abbot Marek Dettlaff.
Translated by Patrycja Pawłowska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.