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CANNES, FRANCE: August 27, 2010
Svetlana Medvedeva Venerates the Holy Relics of Archangel Michael Church

On August 26, 2010, the First Lady of the Russian Federation, Svetlana Medvedeva, while in Cannes, France, to attend a Russian art festival, visited Archangel Michael Church.

One of the oldest Russian Orthodox churches in France, it was built in 1894 on donations collected from the local Russian community. Among the first parishioners was the granddaughter of Alexander Pushkin, Sophia Merenberg, Countess of Tornby.

Mrs Medvedeva descended to the crypt containing the remains of the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Army during World War I, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich, the eldest of the Romanovs living abroad at the time.

After October 1917, the church in Cannes provided shelter for Russian emigres. The crypt also contains the remains of one of these emigres, a member of the Resistance, Elena Valliano, who was executed by the Nazis a few days before the city was emancipated in August 1944.

As the church Rector, Priest Maksim Massalitine, said, the church belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Many of the icons were painted by Russian emigres. Among the most venerated are icons donated by Muscovites in the 21st century.

Mrs Medvedeva showed interest in the history of the parish, the life of its parishioners and the possibility of organizing Russian language courses. The rector said that it is hoped that a parish school will be established.

"Todays meeting bolsters us, it bears witness to the fact that Russia is being reborn and did not forget the hearths of Orthodox culture and spirituality abroad, said Fr Maksim.

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