RIGA - The Saeima education, culture and science committee in the second reading supported the bill, handing over the property rights of Riga St.Peter's Church to an organization established by the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church and the German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Latvia.
The committee chairman Arvils Aseradens (New Unity) said that the committee had to make a weighed and responsible decisions, choosing between two potential owners of the church - the Riga City Council and the religious organization.
"Riga St.Peter's Church is a significant symbol, and it is important to balance all interests, considering that the church was built and maintained as a Lutheran church until World War II. It is important that the building serves as a church. At the same time, it may not lose its significant role as a culture monument and event venue," said Aseradens.
The church right now is a critical condition and is in need of urgent restoration. It is a state culture monument, included in the UNESCO World Heritage list and is a territory and part of the Riga historical center.
The bill sets the duty of the owner to ensure preservation and restoration of the church. The parliament and the Culture Ministry will supervise the restoration works.
The bill still has to be adopted by the parliament in the second and third reading.