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20-12-2011, Nice

Keys to St. Nicholas Cathedral in Nice handed over to the Russian Church

Deputy head of the Russian Presidential Administration Sergey Bolkhovitin handed the keys of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Nice to its new rector Archpriest Nikolay Ozolin. This ended the long and dramatic process of returning the church to the Moscow Patriarchate.

As was reported to an Interfax-Religion correspondent by bloggers of the Diocese of Korsun (which covers the Russian Church parishes in Western Europe), the parties signed an official protocol formalizing the transfer of St. Nicholas Cathedral to the Moscow Patriarchate at a solemn ceremony that took place on the eve.

A divine service celebrated by the former and current rectors of the church preceded this long-awaited event, both priests communed the believers.

As was reported, on 19 May a French court affirmed Russia’s right of ownership to the church in Nice, however the Council of the Exarchate of Russian Parishes in Western Europe (the Constantinople Patriarchate) continued to consider itself the legitimate owner of St. Nicholas Cathedral.

In late October, the highest court of Nice ordered the community of the Constantinople Patriarchate to hand over the keys to St. Nicholas Cathedral to the Russian government within seven days, but the situation took one and a half month.

During the liturgy, celebrated the day before, the clergy commemorated both the Constantinople Patriarch and the Patriarch of Moscow.