March 26 (UPI) — A Russian mayor in the Siberian city of Yakutsk has demanded that a small Alaskan island be returned to the Russian Orthodox Church.
“2014 we will mark the 220th anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church mission to North America and this is a perfect time to pay attention to the Russian America. I stand for the restoration of historical justice — the return of Spruce Island to its lawful owner — the Russian Orthodox Church.” Yakutsk Mayor Aysen Nikolayev told a local newspaper.
Yakutsk researchers claim they found a certificate of transfer in the Alaskan capital of Juneau that says the island was granted to the Russian Orthodox Church “for eternity.” A senior church official said the papers must be studied for verification of their validity.
Spruce island has 250 residents who are still considered to be living on American soil.