2005-03-02 14:34 * RUSSIA * MOSCOW PATRIARCHY * ISRAEL *
PROPERTY DISPUTES HOLD BACK ORTHODOX CHURCH REUNION
MOSCOW, March 2 (RIA Novosti) - Last Monday, the relics of Grand Duchess
Elizabeth and her associate Barbara, a nun, were brought back to the
Convent of St. Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem after a six-month-long tour of
Russia. The convent belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
Russia (ROCOR), Novye Izvestia reports.
A delegation of the Moscow Patriarchy left for Paris the next day for the
fourth meeting of the commission on dialogue with the ROCOR. "ROCOR
structures located on the Russian Orthodox Church's canonical territory"
will be a central issue at the meeting. In addition, those attending the
meeting are expected to define the term "canonical territory."
Five days after Israel was established, the Soviet Union's People's
Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD) appointed an envoy for Russian
property in Israel. Later, the Soviet government sent Moscow Patriarchy
representatives to Jerusalem and claimed ownership over all monasteries,
convents, churches, and relics. ROCOR monks were simply deported from the
In 1997, the Palestinian authorities forced ROCOR monks and nuns to leave
the St. Trinity Monastery in Hebron and handed the monastery over to the
Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). In January 2000, the Palestinian military
arrested monks in the ROCOR church in Jericho, and the church was
immediately transferred to the Moscow Patriarchy.
When meeting with the new Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, the other
day, Alexiy II, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, thanked the
Palestinian authorities for transferring the ownership of the Hebron and
Jericho property in question to the ROC's Russian Orthodox Mission.
"I am very disappointed [by the patriarch's statement]," said Archbishop
Mark of Berlin and Germany. "When we were launching the process we made a
statement that we must refrain from any activities and pronouncements that
could upset the other party," he said.
However, the archbishop has not always followed his own advice. He has
criticized the Russian Orthodox Church for many years and once he went as
far as described it as "non-gracious."
© 2004 RIA Novosti