2011-09-02 12:29:00

Keys from Nice cathedral not likely to be transferred to Russian Church soon

Paris, September 2, Interfax - The Constantinople Patriarchate delays the process of factual transfer of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Nice to the Russian Orthodox Church as this church has been handed over for indefinite rent-free tenure.

As was reported, the French court confirmed Russia's ownership rights for the cathedral on May 19. The Russian state decided to hand the church over to the Moscow Patriarchate which has recently appointed the first two clerics with the instructions to obtain the keys and documents and to put an end to the collection of pay for visits to the cathedral.

The Korsun Diocese to which French parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate are subordinated said in its statement this week that the Nice Orthodox religious association (ACOR) that judicially disputed Russia's claim to the cathedral "can in no way be equated with the parish of St. Nicholas' Cathedral and the Orthodox community of the region."

Meanwhile, head of Russian Parishes Exarchate in Western Europe (subordinate to Constantinople - IF) Archbishop Gabriel at his Wednesday meeting with Bishop Nestor of Korsun gave to understand that the Moscow Patriarchate will have to solve the questions of obtaining keys and abolishing entrance fee directly with ACOR.

"Archbishop Gabriel said he was incompetent in settling the questions. According to him, the Exarchate consists of self-governed associations and thus the decision should be taken at the level of Nice Orthodox religious association (ACOR)," the Korsun Diocese says in its statement handed over to .

The meeting has not had any results in settling canonical questions as Archbishop Gabriel is expecting a letter from the Constantinople Patriarchate and until he receives it he does not believe it possible to take any actions.

Archbishop Gabriel also wished that the new meeting took place in extended composition among representatives of the Exarchate Council and the Korsun Diocese.

"The Korsun Diocese regrets that the meeting initially planned on August 23 was postponed for a week without any explanations, but did not bring any results and negations are delayed again," the statement says.