Moscow/Paris, February 28, Interfax – The French authorities support the project to build a Russian Orthodox cultural center on the Branly Embankment in Paris, but the project needs to be elaborated, French President Francois Hollande said.
“We’re committed to completing this project. This is an obligation that we have assumed with respect to Russia,” Hollande said in an interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station on Thursday.
“However, the construction permit, documents we’ve been provided with, don’t comply with the regulations of the French republic. And even though we have no doubts in the project’s quality, it can’t be implemented yet,” Hollande said.
This issue has already been discussed during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Paris and it was decided to establish another architectural council to readapt the project, the French president said.
Hollande said that abandoning the project to construct the Russian Orthodox center and turning it into an office building was out of the question.
Based on the agreement between Russia and France, Russia purchased some land from the French government in March 2010. Russia bought the land on the Branly Embankment in front of the Alma Bridge to build an Orthodox cultural center, which “is to comply with the traditional canons of the Russian Orthodox Church and the spirit of the Seine Embankment architecture.”
The center was to comprise an Orthodox cathedral, administrative buildings for the diocese, multi-functional seminary halls and lecture halls, dormitory for seminary students, a library, and a big garden in the center. The Russian Orthodox cultural center in Paris is aimed to be a place to meet and hold cultural events for the Russian community and to introduce the Russian spiritual culture to French.