Russian Defense Ministry Hands Back Orthodox Church Property

MOSCOW, February 11 (RIA Novosti) – A seminary turned military aviation school is to be handed back to the Russian Orthodox Church, the Defense Ministry has announced, as part of the ongoing return of church property taken over by the state in Soviet times.

Five buildings making up the Kirov Military Aviation Technical School, located in the city of Kirov near the Urals, will be given over free of charge to the Russian Orthodox Church’s Vyatka Diocese “to be used in accordance with the purposes of the activities of a religious organization as established by its founding documents,” according to an order published late last month on the Defense Ministry’s website. The timeframe of the transfer is not yet clear.

The school ceased to operate in 2010, Colonel Yaroslav Roshchupkin, a spokesman for the Central Military District, told RIA Novosti on Monday.

“Before the 1917 revolution, these buildings were occupied for over a century by a theological seminary,” he added.

The handoff is taking place under a set of laws and government directives passed between 2008 and 2010 to regulate the transfer of former religious buildings to existing religious organizations, primarily the Russian Orthodox Church.

Last year, the Defense Ministry gave back at least two churches under the laws, one in Moscow and one in the Kurgan Region in south-central Russia.


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