On July 1, 2012 all Orthodox Christians of France and the whole Western Europe will celebrate a great event. After nine months of reconstruction Russian St. Nicholas Cathedral in Nice was reopened. It is the biggest Orthodox cathedral outside Russia.
The history of this church is truly amazing. Its construction began in 1903 and lasted nine years. After the opening and up to 1923 the Cathedral of St. Nicholas (La Cathédrale orthodoxe russe Saint-Nicolas) was administered by the Russian Orthodox Church, but subsequently it was leased for 99 years to the Russian Orthodox religious association (ACOR - Association cultuelle orthodoxe russe).
For more than 80 years the Cathedral was administered by the Nice Orthodox association. And on January 20, 2010 after a long litigation the court decided that the cathedral building is the property of Russia. The Russian government passed the temple the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), which is represented in French by the Korsun eparchy. One of the reasons why the ROC supported the return of the cathedral to Russia was the fact that it had been used for business activity. Nice Orthodox association had introduced entrance fee (3 Euros) for the tourists wishing to visit the St. Nicholas Cathedral. However, as it was noted by the Korsun eparchy, when tourists pay money for visiting, it is only a cultural event, where people come in shorts, t-shirts and with cameras, which is unacceptable in a holy place. Also, despite the fact that ACOR earned considerable sums of money on the temple, its building was in critical condition. In May 2011 a large piece of plaster from the dome collapsed during a service, however only by a miracle no one was hurt. As a result in September the Cathedral of St. Nicholas was closed. And on the first of July after a brief repair the temple will open its doors again. But now the entrance fee will be abolished. However next year the St. Nicholas Cathedral will be closed for the general renovation, which would last for two years.