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France clears way for a Russian church near Eiffel Tower

Published on Dec 25, 2013 10:06 PM

PARIS (AFP) - French authorities have given permission for a new Russian Orthodox church to be built near the Eiffel Tower, a project that has been blocked since 2010, the Russian embassy said on Wednesday.

The plan for the church dates back to 2007 when Alexy II, the now deceased patriarch of Moscow, visited France and said the Russian Orthodox church wanted a bigger edifice in Paris.

Russia acquired a prime parcel of land in 2010 near the Eiffel Tower after the French state-run meteorological office sold its headquarters on the Left Bank.

But plans for a church topped with five golden domes enveloped in a canopy resembling a veil ran into opposition from the city's Socialist mayor Betrand Delanoe who called the design "mediocre architecture conceived in haste." But a new plan has got the go-ahead, a Russian diplomat in Paris said.

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