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Russian court orders return of Soviet-seized buildings to the Catholic Church

Alexey Nikolsky | SPUTNIK | AFP

Church official warns that local officials may still block the transfer of confiscated property

A Russian court has ordered the return to the Catholic Church of a complex of Moscow buildings that were seized during the Soviet era, The Tablet reported today.

“We can confirm with joy that the Appeal Court has upheld earlier rulings, requiring the Moscow government to return this object to our Catholic archdiocese,” said Msgr. Igor Kovalevsky, secretary-general of Russia’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference. “So we have at least formally won this case. But we must still await a full resolution of the problem.”

The restitution of the complex of the 19th-century buildings has been demanded by the Catholic Church for over 20 years.

The decree comes a month after Cardinal Pietro Parolin made what was the first visit to Moscow by a Secretary of State since 1999. The visit included talks with President Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill, the head of Russian Orthodox Church, and were said to address practical problems facing the Catholic Church in Russia, such as the confiscated Church property and the denial of visas to Catholic clergy, according to the report in The Tablet.




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