French court rules Russia can recover

Paris, France - A French court says Russia is the rightful owner of an ornate Russian Orthodox cathedral built nearly a century ago under Czar Nicholas II on the French Riviera resort of Nice.

The case over Saint Nicholas Cathedral had long pitted the state-backed Russian Orthodox Church against descendants of Russians who fled the Bolshevik Revolution and now want Moscow to stay away.

Father Jean Gueit says the Nice court ruled Wednesday that the long-term lease on the cathedral had run out and Moscow can now reclaim it. The cathedral is one of the largest of its kind outside Russia.

Gueit said by phone that his congregation will appeal the decision.

In a similar case last year, Italy returned a Russian Orthodox church in southern Bari to Russia.