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28-06-2013, Moscow

Russian state to renovate cathedral in Nice, hand it over to Russian Orthodox Church

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has approved a plan to renovate the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Nice in 2013-2015 for nearly $20 million, all of which would be state money, and to afterward hand it over to the Russian Orthodox Church for unpaid use.

The text of the directive giving the go-ahead to the plan appeared on the Official Internet Portal of Legal Information on Friday.

The plan was put forward by the logistic division of the Russian president's office. The department of the president's office for the management of property abroad will be the official customer of the renovation project.

The total renovation expenditure is put at $19.82 million, with $1.91 million allocated in 2013, $13.54 million in 2014, and $4.36 million in 2015.

This April Russia has obtained definitive ownership rights to a church building in Nice under a ruling of France's highest court. The Court of Cassation threw out an appeal from the Nice Russian Orthodox Cult Association (ACOR), which had laid claim to the Cathedral of St. Nicholas.

The cathedral was leased to ACOR for 99 years in 1923, and since 1931 had been in the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Exarchate in Western Europe, which, in turn, is part of the Constantinople Patriarchate.

On May 19, 2011, the French judiciary confirmed the Russian state's property rights to the cathedral. The Russian state decided to make the church available to the Korsun Diocese of the Moscow Patriarchate for free and indefinite use. However, the Russian Orthodox Exarchate insisted on being the lawful owner of the building.

Built in the early 20th century, the cathedral is one of the most frequently visited historical monuments in The French Riviera. In 1987 it was put on the list of architectural monuments protected by the French state.

The Russian state and private sponsors will finance the two-year work of restoring the building that is due to start this year.