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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


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Church, City Part Ways Over Pilgrimages

The Russian Orthodox Church has reacted angrily to plans by a Moscow-government backed company to move into the growing business of organizing tours for Russians to holy places abroad, arguing that pilgrimages are exclusively church business. The conflict emerged in January when Mayor Yury Luzhkov adopted a project proposed by the Moskva Co., a commercial arm of the city government initially created to manage the municipal hotel property. Moskva proposed to develop low-cost ""religious tourism"" with the backing of perks and guarantees from the city. The plan includes eventual construction of a new $6 million, three-star hotel in Jerusalem. Igor Burenko, head of the pilgrimage section of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department of External Church Relations, said the city government resolution was adopted while Patriarch Alexy was in the hospital with pneumonia and contradicted Luzhkov's previous resolution to coordinate the project with the church.

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