11 November 2016, 10:45
Medvedev looks at repair works in Jerusalem's St. Sergius Court
Jerusalem, November 11, Interfax - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited one of the most valuable Russian properties in the Holy Land, a historical building in downtown Jerusalem known as the St. Sergius Court.
He witnessed the process of repair works, which have been ongoing there over the past several years and are now nearing completion.
The two-storey stone building with a courtyard and a tower neighboring on the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission and the Holy Trinity Cathedral was built in the late 19th century and used to receive pilgrims, including imperial family members. Following the revolution it was forfeited by Russia for decades and returned by Israel only in 2008.
"Dmitry Anatolyevich, I welcome you on Russian soil," the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society head Sergei Stepashin said, addressing the prime minister.
"Welcome to Israel," Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who arrived from the municipality nearby, said.
Starting with the board with photographs depicting the disastrous state of the building before its return to Russian ownership, Medvedev was shown new guest rooms ready to receive pilgrims and a refectory with restored frescoes and walked though the garden with a fountain in the courtyard.
As a property registered under a private individual, Grand Prince Sergei Alexandrovich, the St. Sergius Court was not handed over to the Soviet Union, as opposed to many other Russian properties in the Holy Land, and avoided being sold during the rule of Nikita Khrushchev, while managed by an Israeli custodian.
An example of a 'Khrushchev sale' is situated right across the road, another former house for pilgrims, currently surrounded by barbed wire. "The St. Elizabeth Court, which Khrushchev sold shortly before his resignation, as the rest here. Now there is a prison, they hold Palestinians there," Stepashin told reporters.