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MOSCOW, April 5. /TASS/. Authorities in the Italian province of South Tyrol on Tuesday handed over the church of St Nicholas in the town of Merano to the Russian Orthodox Church for free uncompensated use, Moscow Patriarchate’s press service said.
"A ceremony of signing of an agreement on the handover of the St Nicholas’s church in Merano for free use to the Russian Orthodox Church took place in Bolzano, the capital of North Tyrol," the report said.
In line with the agreement between North Tyrol, the owner of the church, and the administration of Moscow Patriarchate’s parishes in Italy, "the St Nicholas’s (Russian Orthodox) parish has received full freedom in what concerns the organization of its liturgical activities and the right to permanent use of the facility.
The Russian Church of St Nicholas in Merano is one of the oldest Russian Orthodox parishes in today’s Italy. It emerged back in the 19th century when the region was still part of Austria-Hungary.
The first Russian church in the name of St Nicholas was consecrated in Merano in 1884.