Strasbourg, April 16, 2013
According to him, the Russian church will give the Orthodox community a possibility to realize their right to freedom of religion. "It would be ironic if in Strasbourg, which is a bastion of human rights, the right to freedom of religion was impossible for Orthodox," stressed O. Bitz.
"This truly proves openness of Strasbourg to religious presence of Orthodox because it is the very center of the city, practically in line-of-sight distance from major European institutions. May God grand that this church makes its cultural, spiritual contribution to life of this city. Thank you. We are moved by the position of the city authorities," said in his turn Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia, speaking to O. Bitz.
On his part, the deputy chairman of the Presidential Foreign Policy Directorate Valery Nazarenko said that this church will become "another symbol of cultural, spiritual presence of Russia in France alongside with Cathedrals in Paris, Cannes and Nice". He feels certain that both the church and the cultural center at the church will attract not only Russian-speaking people, but also French and German people.
During the meeting, it became known that if necessary funding is provided then building of the church may begin in October 2013. The project will be run by local building companies, and is valued at 6 million euros. Participants of the meeting stated that great efforts to attract donations are needed, reports Interfax.
The architectural aspect of the Strasbourg church is based on the St Nicholas Church on Valaam. About that church the writer Alexander Dumas wrote during his visit to the Russian empire: "This church is a real treasure, by its art as well as by its richness".
Today the parish of the Russian Church in Strasbourg is located in a former garage premises equipped for celebrating regular services. This building can accommodate only about 70 people. It is the only parish of the Patriarchate of Moscow in eastern France. In January 2011, the city council of Strasbourg made a decision to give a parcel of land for 99 years to the Russian community for the building of a church.