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The Imperial Orthodox Palestinian society, a charitable scientific organization. It was created in 1882 on the initiative of Grand Prince Sergei Alexandrovich (president for life) with the purpose of supporting Orthodoxy in the Holy Land (including Syria and Lebanon), acquaintance of Russians with the Palestine and pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

The Palestinian Society erected churches and hostels in the Holy Land, supported teacher seminaries, schools, ambulance stations and hospitals. The Society negotiated preferential passing duties for pilgrims due to which many thousands of Orthodox believers from Russia could visit the Holy Land annually. The Palestinian Society also carried out archaeological excavations, scientific expeditions, published hagiographies of Palestinian saints, descriptions and guides of the Holy Land. The Orthodox Palestinian Anthology was published from 1881, (known as the Palestinian Anthology since 1918), and Reports of Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society from 1891. Many outstanding scientists were members of the society, including V. V. Bartold, S. F. Oldenburg, I. Y. Krachkovsky, V. V. Latyshev, N. Y. Marr, and V. V. Struve.

The Administration of the Palestinian Society, which had sections in many eparchies, was located in St. Petersburg at 36 Voznesensky Avenue. In 1885, the Chapel of St. Alexander Nevsky in Old Alexander's Market, which had raised money for the restoration of the Church of St. Nicholas of Mira in Turkey was transferred into the ownership of the Palestinian Society. In 1905, the chapel was sanctified as St. Nicholas’ Church. In 1913-15, the church dedicated to St. Nicholas of Mira was erected in its place in the Neo-Russian style. At the same time the Palestinian Society started building the Russian representative office with a church in the City of Bari in Italy, but the project was not completed on account of the Russian Revolution.

In 1918, the Russian Palestinian Society was transferred to the Russian Academy of Sciences; its Russian properties were nationalized.

The society now functions abroad under the original name along with the Jerusalem Spiritual Mission of the Moscow Patriarchate taking care of Russian Churches and Institutions in the Holy Land. In 1992, it was restored to its former status in Russia.



Patriarch Chairs Meeting of Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society

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09.04.2009
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chaired a meeting of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS). The Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society was established by Emperor Alexander III in 1882 to facilitate Orthodox Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to promote Palestinian studies and humanitarian cooperation with the peoples of the biblical region.
 

The Beginning of Russian Jerusalem. Evgeny Levin

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02.12.2008
The Russian presence in Jerusalem is felt mostly outside the walls of the Old City: at the Mount of Olives, where there are two women's monasteries, in the picturesque area of Ein Karem (Gorensky Monastery) and even in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish quarter of Mea Shearim that runs adjacent to Trinity Cathedral. One of the first Russian acquisitions in Jerusalem, however, was made in the Old City just a few steps from the city’s main holy site – the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
 

Russian Presence in the Holy Land

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12.06.2008
On June 12, 2008, the annual meeting of the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society, or IOPS, took place in the Hall of Church Councils of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. More than 700 IOPS members and guests took part in it.
 

Russia Restores its Traditional Presence in the Holy Land

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10.06.2008
Russia is restoring its traditional presence on the Holy Land, which covers the territories of Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Israel. Jericho Mayor has handed over to the Russian side a paper certifying ownership of three land plots that belong to the Russian Orthodox Church.
 

Russia receives three Holy Land plots

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09.06.2008
Russia has received three plots of land in Jericho in the West Bank, a RIA Novosti correspondent said on Monday from a ceremony in Moscow to hand over land ownership deeds. Russian Audit Chamber chief Sergei Stepashin, who heads the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, said prior to the ceremony that, «The decision to return to Russia plots of land in the Holy Land was made during a recent meeting with Palestinian National Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas… the first decision will be implemented today.»
 

Signing of Memorandum on Cooperation between Russian Foreign Ministry and Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS)

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09.06.2008
State Secretary, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Grigory Karasin and Chairman of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society and Chairman of the Audit Chamber of the Russian Federation Sergey Stepashin signed a Memorandum on Cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society on June 9, 2008.
 

Transfer to the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society (IOPS) of a Land Plot in Bethlehem

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22.05.2008
The Head of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, on May 21 handed to Alexander Saltanov, Special Middle East Envoy of the President of the Russian Federation, Deputy Foreign Minister and Deputy Chairman of the IOPS, a package of documents on the transfer of the ownership of a land plot in the historic part of the city of Bethlehem to the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society. In accordance with the agreement reached, a secondary school will be built on this site.
 

Stepashin elected chairman of the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society

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14.06.2007
Sergey Stepashin, chairman of the Russian Audit Chamber, has been elected chairman of the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society at its meeting devoted to its 125th anniversary.
 

Jerusalem department’s office of the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society is consecrated

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07.03.2006
On 7 March 2006, Archimandrite Elisei, chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, consecrated a temporary office of the Jerusalem Department of the revived Imperial Orthodox Palestinian society (IOPS).
 
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