Eurovision Organizers Face Backlash Over Choice of Venue for 2017 Opening Ceremony; Vladimir Kozlov; Billboard

Ukraine – Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra

Last week, Ukraine said the opening ceremony of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest would be held in the Saint Sophia complex, a well-known religious landmark in the capital Kiev which dates back to the 17th century, and which is recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage Program.

Eurovision’s organizers thought that since the complex’s centerpiece cathedral is not currently in use as a church, holding the ceremony wouldn’t insult religious feelings. After reactions from church officials in Ukraine and Russia over the past week, they were very clearly mistaken.

“This should not be done… it would be blasphemy,” Vasily Anisimov, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchy, was quoted as saying by the news agency RIA Novosti. “On that site, a huge burial ground is located.”

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