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Israel to give church to Russians

Israel agreed in principle to transfer the Church of St. Sergius and the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem to the Russian government.Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the proposed deal during a meeting of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, of which he is an honorary member, according to Interfax.”We have been in consultations with the Israelis for three years,” said Lavrov, “and a basic agreement on the transfer of the St. Sergius Metochion and the building of the Russian church mission has been finally reached.”Israel bought the Russian church assets, part of the so-called Russian Compound built during the waning years of Czarist rule, from the Khrushchev government in 1964 for a shipment of citrus fruit, in what came to be known as the “orange deal.”