KYIV -- The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) has handed over archive documents regarding the Soviet Union's demolition of churches in Ukraine to the leaders of Ukrainian Orthodox Church, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.
SBU chief Valentyn Nalivaychenko told journalists that the documents were about the destruction of Orthodox churches in Ukraine's Sumy, Chernigiv, and Kharkiv oblasts.
According to him, the churches were either completely demolished or turned into depots, cultural centers, or sports halls.
He said the property inside the churches considered to be artifacts of Ukraine's history and culture were confiscated by the communist government and later disappeared.
Nalivaychenko said that in order to understand the scale of the tragedy of the churches' destruction, one should remember that in 1917 there were over 1,500 Orthodox Christian parishes in Kyiv Oblast but that by 1940 only two such parishes remained in the region.
He added that the SBU will continue searching for archived documents regarding the Soviet-era demolition of churches in the country.