Moscow (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Smolny Cathedral in St. Petersburg, one of the symbols of the city of the Tsars and now owned by the state, will be returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. This was announced April 14 by Nikolai Burov, director of the museum of the four cathedrals which also includes that of Smolny. "The decision has been made: the Smolny Cathedral will be restored to the diocese," said Burov, quoted by Interfax.
Concerts are regularly hosted in the cathedral. The cathedral choir was already offered another site and an agreement was easily found: the new concert hall should be ready in three years, according to Burov.
Designed by Italian Bartolomeo Rastrelli on the banks of the Neva River, the Smolny is one of the most important churches of St. Petersburg. Designed in 1746, the work for its construction was completed only in 1835 by the architect Vasily Stasov. In 1922, the cathedral was confiscated by the Bolsheviks, like all church property, and turned into a warehouse, until its closure in 1931. Since 1990 it has been used as a concert hall and exhibition space, while in 2010 it was again opened to worship.
In 2010 a law was passed for the restitution of religious property nationalized by the state, initially disputed by religious minorities who have denounced the authorities’ favoritism towards the Orthodox Church. (N.A.)