Religious Property Goes to Church

Church to get back items stolen by the Soviets under new law

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The Russian Orthodox Church has won a long-standing fight with museums over state property confiscated by the Soviet government, after the State Duma adopted a controversial law.

The law “On transferring property of religious value currently under governmental or municipal control to religious organizations” defines the status of the abovementioned “property of religious value”.

The law raised numerous protests of museum workers earlier this year, who claim the Church cannot take proper care of them.

Director of the Andrey Rublev Museum, Gennady Popov, is one of those concerned.

“Any small, but careless gesture, and everything is ruined. The icons get covered by this particular kind of dust. Sure, we can take it off millimeter by millimeter, but that would take us a couple of centuries,” Popov says.

Another sensitive factor is the income from the usage of the religious property. Estimates suggest that museums might lose up 20 per cent of their income following the property transfer.

The deputies say they have accounted for the wishes of both sides. However, neither Church nor museums appear to be satisfied.

Source: Russia Today
24 September, 2010