Source Pravda.Ru

Moscow hopes issue of Saint Simeon Church will be resolved justly

Deputy official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Boris Malakhov told journalists on Saturday that Moscow hoped that the German party would do its best to tackle the issue of Saint Simeon Orthodox Church in Dresden and its parish justly.

The Church was built in Dresden with the savings of a Russian merchant Semen Vikulin in 1874 and was registered as property of a private fund specially set up for maintaining and administering the church.

Under the act on "Land Property of the Russian Orthodox Church in Germany" of 1938 signed by Hitler, the church along with other immovables of the Russian Orthodox Church that belonged to the Russian State passed into the ownership of the Russian Church abroad loyal to Nazis.

In 1945 justice was restored and the church passed back into the ownership of the Moscow Patriarchate. Provisions of order #82 issued by the Soviet military administration in Germany on April 29, 1948 legally confirmed it.

"The provisions are in force nowadays as Germany has its obligations originating from the final settlement agreement under the /2+4/ formula. The document lays down irreversibility of property requisitioning made on the basis of the rights and supremacy of the allies' occupation authorities," Boris Malakhov stressed.

"In June 2002 the Supreme Court of Saxony ignored the fact and with due account taken of the Nazi law decided that the church belonged to the Foreign Church that does not even have its parish in Dresden," the deputy official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry emphasized.

That means that its senior priest can be banned from the church together with a great number of Orthodox parishioners. "In this case it would be a violation of the rights of the believers let alone that the decision of the Saxon Supreme Court contradicts the international obligations of United Germany originating from the /2+4/ Agreement." According to Boris Malakhov, the Russian Foreign Ministry was following the situation closely and taking real measures to protect the rights and interests of the Dresden Orthodox believers including a lot of Russian citizens among them. The issue was touched upon during Russian-German political dialogue.

The German authorities are fully aware of the Russian stance towards the issue, the Russian diplomat stressed. According to him, "a just settlement of the issue in accordance with the international obligations assumed by Germany will meet Russia's expectations and prove good friendly Russian-German relations."

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