19 July 2017

Inauguration of the Russian Compound

On Tuesday, July 18, the Russian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, together with numerous civil and religious authorities, celebrated the reopening of the great Tsarist complex dedicated to its founder, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich Romanov.

Actuality and events

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On Tuesday, July 18, the Russian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, together with numerous civil and religious authorities, celebrated the reopening of the great Tsarist complex dedicated to its founder, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich Romanov.
Located in the center of Jerusalem next to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, the Duke of Sergei's Courtyard is considered one of the most elegant buildings of the city, built with stones imported from Russia.

Established in the 1890s, the complex was initially used as a hostel for pilgrims as well as the center of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, the oldest NGO with humanitarian goals throughout Russia.

ROMAN KRASSOVSKY, Archimandrite
Head of the Russian ecclesiastical mission in Jerusalem
"In the nineteenth century, when the ecclesiastical mission began operating, thousands of Russian pilgrims came here every year, especially during Easter ceremonies. For tens of thousands of them there was no place to stay nor anyone who would take care of them. At the time, the Russian government was able to obtain an agreement to build hostels, monasteries, and even several schools for the Palestinian people.”

Things changed after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution whose policy aimed to erase all traces of the previous Tsarist government.

ROMAN KRASSOVSKY, Archimandrite
Head of the Russian ecclesiastical mission in Jerusalem
"That was a very difficult time: Russia was completely isolated and therefore the Mission (in Palestine), the monasteries and other buildings were abandoned."

Much of the building was sold by the Soviet Union to the state of Israel, which turned it into the headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture and Ecology until 2008, when a bilateral agreement between the two states established the return of Sergei's Courtyard to its original property: the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow.

ANTHONY SEVRYUK, Bishop of Bogorodsky,
Director of the Department for Foreign Institutions of the Patriarchate of Moscow.
"Now, many years later, after having completed several restructuration and reconstruction projects, we finally reopened these spaces and we really hope they can serve the same original goals.”

A small corner of paradise open to all those who will come to Jerusalem on pilgrimage.

The Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, together with the Russian state authorities, hope to turn it into a cultural and a spiritual center as well. In fact, there will be a museum, a school of theology and a large library.

SERGEY STEPASHIN,
President - Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society
"Unfortunately, this country has a reputation for being a place of war and killings, however, this is truly a nice, welcoming land. It makes no difference to me whether to be in East or West Jerusalem, in Palestine or in Israel, because everything here is the Holy Land. I have never been treated like a stranger here. I wish for every Russian who will come here to have the sensibility to feel this way, too, in this land that has gone through so much hardship, but so full of history, a land so holy!”