Cannes, France, November 11, 2021
A French court has ruled that Russia is the rightful owner of the Archangel Michael Church in Cannes, reports Anastasia Popova, a correspondent of the The All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company in Belgium.
The dispute over the church dragged on for about seven years, Popova writes. The church has been the subject of continual legal disputes and has changed jurisdictional hands many times. It is currently in the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Orthodox Churches of Russian Tradition in Western Europe of the Moscow Patriarchate.
There is still an opportunity to appeal from the French side, but it is unclear if it will take this step.
“Anyway, the decision is historic and very, very long in the making. Now we can finally safely proceed with the restoration of our cultural heritage. Moreover, local businessmen are ready to allocate money for it,” the journalist writes.
Watch this video gives a good view of how much restoration work there is to do inside the beautiful church, beginning at 0:50.
The church was built by French architect Louis Nouveau in 1894, and received significant donations from the royal family of Russia. In 1929, a significant portion of the parish left the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate and joined the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. In 1945, the parish returned to the Moscow Patriarchate, though it split again in 1948. It was in the jurisdiction of ROCOR in 2001 when Metropolitan Vitaly started a schismatic version of ROCOR, and the parish joined him for a few years. In 2014, the parish joined the Archdiocese of Orthodox Churches in Western Europe again, though it was now under the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The parish supported His Metropolitan John of Dubna, who led the Archdiocese back into the Moscow Patriarchate in 2019.
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