Yesterday in a French court, the next stage of the long-term confrontation between the Russian Federation and the Russian Orthodox Association of Nice (ACOR – l’association cultuelle orthodoxe russe de Nice) ended.
The fact is that in the 19th century in Nice, the Russians built two churches, a chapel, and bought out the adjacent lands. After the revolution, Russian emigrants registered a community – the Russian Orthodox Association of Nice – which disposed of this property under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Western European parishes of the Russian tradition. Legally, the church property was leased by the French authorities for 99 years, and the lease expired on January 1, 2008.
In 2006, the Russian Federation filed a lawsuit against the French authorities for the transfer of property rights to the Church of St. Nicholas. The litigation between the Russian Federation and the “Russian Orthodox Association of Nice” lasted four years, and in 2010 the Nice court recognized the Russian Federation as the sole owner of the building of the St. Nicholas Church (by the way, the largest Orthodox church in Western Europe).
In 2014, a French notary certified acts declaring the Russian Federation the owner of two more objects – the Church of Saints Nicholas and Alexandra on Longchamp Street and the Kokad Orthodox Cemetery along with the chapel. That is, all the property of the “Russian Orthodox Association of Nice”. In 2015, the Association filed a lawsuit against the Russian Federation, the consideration of which has been going on for the sixth year.
Yesterday, the Nice court recognized the right of the Russian Federation to own land plots around the Church of St. Nicholas (already transferred to Russia), but retained the right of the Russian Orthodox Association of Nice to own the Church of Saints Nicholas and Alexandra and the Kokad Orthodox cemetery “by the right of acquisitive prescription.” The Russian side intends to appeal this decision. So the conflict is not over yet.
By the way, it is interesting that after the abolition of the Archdiocese of Western European parishes of the Russian tradition in 2018, the “Russian Orthodox Association of Nice” did not pass under the omophorion either to Constantinople or to the ROC, choosing the Romanian Orthodox Church.