Moscow seeks to increase its presence in Jerusalem

Russia is trying to regain control of two historical objects in Israel that belonged to it in the past, reports RIA Novosti, citing Sergei Stepashin, head of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS) and former prime minister of Russia.

According to Stepashin, the fate of the Elisabeth and Alexander courtyards, which were built in the 19th century to accommodate Russian pilgrims, has already been discussed on multiple occasions at the highest level with the Israeli authorities. “Thanks to the Russian President – On two occasions, Vladimir Vladimirovich personally brought up this topic at meetings with the prime minister (Netanyahu),” the IOPS chairperson remarked.

The Elisabeth Courtyard is located in central Jerusalem, near the Holy Trinity Cathedral and the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission. It currently houses a police station and a detention facility.

The Alexander Courtyard is situated in the Old City of Jerusalem, not far from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It belongs to the Orthodox Palestine Society, which claims to be the legitimate successor to the pre-revolution IOPS, but has no relation to Stepashin’s department.

Israel has already given Russia the Sergei Courtyard, also built in the 19th century. It is presently being used to hold an IOPS convention.

“For the first time, we are holding an international seminar. Representatives of 28 subjects of the Russian Federation and a number of foreign countries are in attendance here, including metropolitans and the Russia Orthodox Church Abroad. This is a good signal, a good sign that Russia was, is, and will remain in the Holy Land,” Stepashin said.

  Moscow, Russia, Jerusalem, Israel