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ST.PETERSBURG, September 2. /TASS/. St. Isaac’s Cathedral, one of St. Petersburg's landmarks, will not be handed to the Russian Orthodox Church and will remain a state-run museum, a spokesman for the Russian second largest city’s governor said on Wednesday.
"The St. Petersburg government has made a final decision on the status of St. Isaac’s Cathedral," the spokesman said.
"If the cathedral was handed to the Orthodox Church, the city would have had to bear the expenses of its maintenance, restoration and security and to subsequently cut financing of other socially important projects and programmes."
The St. Petersburg diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church has confirmed it had sought the cathedral's return. The place of worship was built in 1858 and transformed into a museum after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.
St. Isaac’s is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the northern capital's largest Orthodox church. It enjoys the status of a state-run museum and monument, attracting 3.2 million tourists last year.