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MOSCOW, April 28. /TASS/. The status of the Patriarchal Cathedral that St Petersburg’s landmark Cathedral of St Isaac may get after its transfer to the administrative control of the Russian Orthodox Church will impart special spiritual significance to it, Alexander Volkov, the press secretary of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill I told TASS on Thursday.
He said that His Holiness Kirill would take on the role of the father superior of the cathedral if the transfer did take place.
"If you take a possible form of administration at the St Isaac’s after its transfer then I think this particular form (the Patriarchal Cathedral) will be correct for this particular cathedral from the point of view of both Petersburg and the entire country," the Rev Volkov said. "The patriarchal status will give it special significance from the standpoint of its place in the Church."
He recalled that several other churches in Russia had this status and the decades of application of such administrative patterns had proved their efficacious nature.
"The boldest instance in this case is the Cathedral of the Savior in Moscow," the Rev Volkov said. "It has a special place in the life of the Russian Church and of our entire society, as all the key events take place there."
"The Cathedral of the Savior is the center of Russia’s spiritual life and it’s only natural that the Supreme Hierarch of the Church leads services there quite often - the fact that many believers also find to be very important," he said.
The Rev Volkov recalled that all the proprietary and financial issues related to the Cathedral of the Savior fell into the realm of powers of the Board of Trustees the Cathedral’s Fund.
Kirill I makes several trips a year to St Petersburg, his native city. The next visit is to take place on April 30.
The main item on Kirill I’s agenda during this trip will be to venerate the memory of his spiritual teacher, the late Metropolitan Nikodim of Leningrad and Novgorod (b. 1929, d.1978), and to lead a liturgy in the Holy Trinity Cathedral of the city’s biggest monastery, the Laura of St Alexander of the Neva.
His Holiness will not visit the St Isaac’s that has turned into a centerpiece of red-hot public debates in Russia society after the decision of St Petersburg Governor, Georgy Poltavchenko, to turn it over to the Russian Church. "A visit there is off the Patriarch’s agenda now," the Rev Volkov said.
He did not confirm a report by the RBC news agency that the official transfer of the cathedral on Russia Day, a national holiday marked on July 12. "I’ll refrain from saying anything about specific dates because they are the subject of our contacts with the appropriate state authorities," he said.
"I think any date on which the transfer will take place will be a really good day," the Rev Volkov said.
The compound of the St Isaac’s cathedral is owned by the government of St Petersburg. Simultaneously, the cathedral enjoys protection at the federal level, while UNESCO has placed it on the world heritage list.