Moscow, April 15, Interfax - There have been problems with transferring the ownership of Alexander's Metochion in Jerusalem to the Russian Orthodox Church, Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society Chairman Sergei Stepashin said.
"We are fighting for the return of Alexander's Metochion, but this is challenging: a decision was practically made, we kept working for five years and found every historical document necessary, but then the Ukraine situation happened, and Israel behaved as it always does - running with the hare and hunting with the hounds, acting both ways, so to say, playing ping pong," Stepashin said at a conference in Sergiyev Posad on Friday.
Stepashin said he was hoping that Russian President Vladimir Putin would write a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and would call for giving back the metochion. "This is a unique case," he said, adding, "We will bring this to the end."
Alexander's Metochion is located near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and Golgotha is only 70 meters away.
The metochion is an archaeological and architectural site. Alexander III purchased the courtyard land in 1859, and the metochion was erected by the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society in 1896.
The courtyard's ownership was disputed after the 1917 Russian Revolution and emigration of most members of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society. Nowadays, there are two same-name organizations in Russia and Germany disputing the metochion's ownership. There is also a third party to the dispute, the Palestine Society of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.