Church in Russia to Be Returned to Catholics

SMOLENSK, Russia, OCT. 22, 2010 (Zenit.org).- A cathedral in Smolensk that was turned into a state archives department will now be turned back over to the Catholics.

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The Russian agency Interfax reported that officials in Smolensk are discussing with Poland a plan to restore the church after the archives are removed.

The governor of Smolensk Oblast, Sergey Antufyev, said, «After we are through with the construction of a new building for the state archives next year we will be ready to discuss with Poland a plan to restore or repair the Catholic church.»

He noted that Poland has expressed the desire to participate in the restoration of the cathedral.

The neo-Gothic cathedral was constructed through the donations of parishioners, and was completed in 1897.

Church services were held in the cathedral until it was taken over for the archives department in the 1930s.

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