MOSCOW, April 16 (RIA Novosti) - The construction of an Orthodox church dedicated to All Saints and a Russian cultural center in Strasbourg will cost €6 million ($7.9 million), the Russian Orthodox Church’s envoy to the Council of Europe said Tuesday.
“According to a preliminary assessment, some €6 million will be required, and construction may start this fall, presumably in early October, but only if the financing is received by that time,” said Hegumen Philip Ryabykh, who is also the rector of the All Saints parish in Strasbourg in eastern France.
The parish of All Saints in Strasbourg was established in 2003. It is currently housed in a former garage reequipped for church needs. Permission to build the church was secured from the local authorities in December 2012. The parish community will rent the plot of land where the church will be built for 99 years.
Construction will be funded by donations, and the parish community needs some €180,000 ($236,340) to start work, Hegumen Philip said after a meeting of the board supervising the construction of the All Saints Church.
The meeting, led by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, was held in Moscow on Tuesday. It involved clergy from Russia and Ukraine, as well as businessmen and state and public figures from Russia and France.
A foundation providing money for the All Saints Church construction has already partially paid for the services of an architect and companies providing engineering documentation.
Patriarch Kirill said at the supervisory board meeting that the church will become a place for communication and prayer for the Russian community, as well as a site for the Russian Orthodox Church’s dialogue with European organizations.
“A mission of the Russian Orthodox Church will operate at the church. It carries out very important expert work in interacting with the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights, as well as with other institutions,” the patriarch said.
“On the one hand, the church and parish will have great significance for spiritual life, and on the other hand, this will be a place for Europeans to get familiarized with Orthodox Christianity and Orthodox culture,” he said.
Patriarch Kirill also said the presence of Russian Orthodox Church representatives at European organizations in Strasbourg is important because they will acquaint the participants of international discussions with the Russian Church’s position on certain “issues of moral importance.”
He also said a big Orthodox Christian community lives in Strasbourg and its surroundings, and added that the place currently rented by the Russian Orthodox Church can only accomodate 70 people, while up to 500 people gather there during church services.