As Moscow prepares to unveil a bronze monument to Mother Teresa, the city authorities have demolished a shelter owned by her Catholic order, citing a lack of permits for the running of the building.Read the rest here.
The two buildings in eastern Moscow which served as a shelter for the homeless and disabled attracted the City Hall's attention three years ago when the local authorities went to court to force Missionaries of Charity, a Catholic religious organization founded by Mother Teresa, to demolish one of the buildings and remove the top floor from the other.
"No country has ever launched legal proceedings against Mother Teresa's organization," said shelter volunteer Yelena Blinova.
Though Russian Orthodox Church officials, including Patriarch Kirill, tried to resolve the conflict, one of the buildings was destroyed on Friday.
"The demolished building was constructed with voluntary donations from people all over the world, and its destruction is a sign of blindness to human grief and contempt for those who help the poorest," Missionaries of Charity said in a statement, published by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Moscow.
"Everybody knows how hard the sisters have worked for the past 20 years. Did their work bother anyone?" said Pavel Pezzi, metropolitan archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Moscow.
City Hall authorities refused to comment.