ROME, April 17 (RIA Novosti) - Italy has launched procedures to return the St. Nicolas Orthodox church, in the southern city of Bari, back to Russia, a source in the Russian embassy in the country said Friday.
On Thursday the city council of Bari unanimously voted to hand the 100-year-old church to the Italian government so that it can subsequently become Russian property.
A man who presided as the Orthodox Church's bishop in Alaska from 1973 to 1995 has died. Archbishop Gregory Afonsky was 82.
Gregory helped establish St. Herman Pastoral School, which first opened its doors in Kenai and later moved to Kodiak. The school was later named a seminary by national church leaders.
Gregory was named archbishop in 1995.
A memorial was held Wednesday in Sitka.
Moscow, April 16, Interfax - The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church instructed Archbishop Vikenty of Yekaterinburg to draft a program of events in commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the deaths of last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family.
Religious services in commemoration of the royal martyrs will be held in all Russian churches on July 16-17, the Holy Synod also decided at a session in Moscow on Tuesday. The members of the religious and public program Yekaterinburg Initiative urged the Russian leadership last month to rename all communities on the Russian map related to the people who had to do with the killing of the royal family.
Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexy II has voiced the hope that the UN will ensure the rights of Orthodox believers in Kosovo and Metochia.
"I hope the United Nations will do its best to ensure the access of Orthodox Christians to sacred places in Kosovo and prevent acts of violence against religious sites on that territory," he told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the St. Daniel's Monastery in Moscow on Thursday.
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) will provide aid to victims of the Albania munitions explosions that occurred on March 15 in the town of Gerdec near the capital city of Tirana. The explosions killed 17 people and wounded 300 others. More than 3,500 people were forced to evacuate their homes as the massive explosions continued into the next day.
"Displaced villagers will not be able to return to their homes for at least six months and will need long term support," said IOCC Regional Director Mark Ohanian who is coordinating the response in Albania. IOCC will provide $10,000 of support including basic hygiene supplies and clothing for families who were displaced by the explosions. Psychological support and recreational activities will also be provided to children and young people.