Moscow, June 5, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia expressed hope that the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society will continue efforts in returning the Russian property in the Middle East, as well as humanitarian projects in the region.
"I am confident that the Society needs to continue its work in returning Russia's lost historical property, which our predecessors had gathered by working hard, and especially the part of immovable property that used to belong to the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society," the patriarch said at a meeting on the occasion of the society's 135th anniversary, speaking of successful experience of the St. Sergius Court's restitution in Jerusalem.
Patriarch Kirill recalled that the society was engaged in extensive educational work in the Middle East, where over 100 educational establishments, including 78 schools in 50 cities and villages of Syria, operated under the aegis of the organization, in 19th and the early 20th centuries.
He urged to develop this activity, recalling that 500 Palestinian boys are attending the Russian school opened with the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society's participation in Bethlehem.
"I hope the Society will be able to successfully implement the existing plans to build schools in Syria, Lebanon and maybe other countries in the near future," he said.
The patriarch also gave his blessing to the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society to continue providing humanitarian assistance to the population of the Middle East.
"It is important that the cargo reaches specifically those who need it. It is necessary to establish direct contacts with representatives of the local religious communities for this purpose. The Russian Orthodox Church and particularly the Department for External Church Relations are ready to provide all possible assistance to the Society in maintaining these contacts," he said.