The Russian Embassy in France said that the French government gave permission for a new Russian Orthodox church to be built near the Eiffel Tower, a project blocked since 2010. The plan dates back to 2007, when the late Patriarch Aleksei Ridiger of Moscow and all the Russias visited France and said that he wanted a bigger Russian Orthodox presence in Paris. Russia acquired a prime parcel of land in 2010 near the Eiffel Tower after the French state-run meteorological office sold its headquarters on the Left Bank. However, plans for a church topped with five golden domes enveloped in a canopy resembling a veil ran into opposition from Socialist Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, who called the design “mediocre architecture conceived in haste”. Nevertheless, a Russian diplomat in Paris said that the plan now has the go-ahead, saying, “We’ve received confirmation of the permission to build the church”, without specifying when work would start. A Région Île-de-France official, which includes Paris, confirmed this, saying, “Permission is granted”. The Russian ambassador said that Russia’s now working on a new plan for the church, which should be ready in January. It’ll incorporate new technology, and the materials will include titanium and carbon. Paris is home to several Russian Orthodox churches but only one, Three Holy Hierarchs is part of the MP.
25 December 2013