29 Mar 2019 14:29

Kremlin follows St. Isaac's Cathedral situation, but refrains from comment

MOSCOW. March 29 (Interfax) - The Kremlin is following the situation surrounding the status of St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg, but views this matter as the prerogative of the regional authorities, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday.

"We don't have any official information on this topic. We don't know what served as the primary source of information for the articles that appeared today," Peskov said.

"But it is about St. Petersburg. It is about one of the major historical sites. Therefore, the Kremlin is interested in everything that happens there," he said.

At the same time, "it is the prerogative of the city, of the region. The Kremlin's opinion is not needed here," Peskov said.

RBC reported on Friday, citing a source in the Russian government and Culture Ministry, that a decision had been made not to transfer St. Isaac's Cathedral to the Russian Orthodox Church.

In early 2017, the St. Petersburg government announced the decision to hand over St. Isaac's Cathedral to the Moscow Patriarchate on the basis of the 2010 federal law on the transfer of religious assets to religious organizations.

The cathedral's possible transfer to the Russian Orthodox Church has drawn an outcry in St. Petersburg. A lawsuit was filed challenging the city authorities' decision. In March 2017, the Smolninsky District Court of St. Petersburg confirmed that the December 30, 2016 decree is not a legal act authorizing the cathedral's handover to the Russian Orthodox Church.