Православное христианство.ru. Каталог православных ресурсов сети интернет

19-09-2011, Paris

Orthodox Western Europeans for a dialogue on the Russian church in Nice and against identifying of Russia and the Soviet Union

A Movement for a united Church of the Russian tradition in the Western Europe has criticized the leadership of the church association claiming that white-Russian emigres' descendants are indignant over Russia's being confirmed the lawful owner of the church in Nice.

The movement urges all sides to engage a respectful dialogue and ‘strongly denounces aggressive positions of the present leaders of the association of the Nice cathedral,’ the statement, received by Interfax on Wednesday, said.

The movement notes that ‘the Archdiocese of Orthodox parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe under the provisional jurisdiction of the Constantinople Patriarchate  (to which the parish in Nice belongs ­­- IF) is a side in the legal dispute with the Russian Federation over ownership of the Russian Orthodox cathedral in Nice.’

The dispute has arisen due to the fact that the 100-year-old lease, according to which the ownership of the church was temporally transferred to ecclesiastical authorities, is now expired, and ‘many things have change since then.’

In this connection the parish leaders said that the descendants of the White Russian emigres regard Russia’s demand as ‘shameful since it was presented by the successors of the murderers of Tsar Nicholas II who built the church in Nice.’

'L'orthodoxie locale de tradition russe' responded saying that ‘any identifying of the modern Russia with the communist Soviet Union would be historically ridiculous.’

According to the movement, those who issue statements like that ‘refuse to see and accept the historical changes that have taken place in Russia during the last fifteen years’ including canonization of the emperor’s family and many Russians coming back to the church, which ‘is doing her best to catechize them and strengthen them in faith.’

These changes, the movement leaders say, may be seen from the fact that many descendants of the White Russian emigres of the first wave ‘have reestablished their ecclesiastical relations with the Moscow Patriarchate’ and ‘a senior Romanov has openly said that he believed that St. Nicholas’ church in Nice belongs to Russia.’ (Prince Nicholas Romanovich Romanov said earlier this year: ‘If I were given the keys from the cathedral, I would give them to the Russian State in order that it give them to the Moscow Patriarchate’ - IF).

'L'orthodoxie locale de tradition russe' urges Nice church leaders ‘to take a more adequate line of behavior’ and to accept Russia’s suggestion ‘to start a dialogue’ in order to put this conflict, which ‘dishonors the Orthodoxy’, to an end.

In June, the secretary of the Council of the Archdiocese of Orthodox parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe under the Constantinople Patriarchate Michel Sologoub said that ‘the Soviet Union came out of the Bolshevik Revolution, the leaders of which ordered the murder of the emperor and his family.’ So Sologoub called ‘unfair’ the Russian claim that the church in Nice belongs to the Russian Federation and not to the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The Church of St. Nicholas in Nice was built in 1903-1912 by the architect Preobrazhensky in the same stile as St. Basil’s cathedral in Moscow and the church of the Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg. The church is located at Bd. Tzarevitch named after emperor Alexander II’s son esarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich who died there.

In the early XX century the Court Ministry of the Russian Empire leased the church to its parish council for 99 years. In 1930s the parish went to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The lease is expiring in the early 2008 and French lawyers of the Russian Federation seek to prove that the ownership rights of the church belong to Russia.