After fleeing two Communist revolutions in the '20s and '30s, the elderly Russian nuns of Our Lady of Vladimir have ended their most recent struggle - their fight to hold onto their decades-old Moss Beach house of prayer.

Under a recently revealed court settlement, the seven octogenarian nuns are permitted to live in their Coastside convent for the next seven years.

After that period, they must hand over their picturesque coastal property to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), a religious group the nuns separated from two years ago.

The agreement allows them to retain another 2,000-acre undeveloped property in Placer County on which they have long intended to build a new convent.

The nuns will split another property they own in San Francisco with the church but can reportedly keep bank accounts and religious icons.

The civil suit, which ended April 26, put to rest a bitter two-year clash between the nuns and their former church, ROCOR, which filed the suit against the head of the convent, Abbess Eugenia Mungalova.

Todd Roberts, an attorney with ROCOR, said his client is satisfied with the settlement because it helped avoid what could have been a very lengthy and expensive trial.

Now, he said, the church hopes only to move on and put the matter in the past.

"The church's intention right now is to put the suit behind them, to let the healing begin and move on to a higher purpose," Roberts said.

The convent reportedly cut its ties with ROCOR because of fears it was planning to reunite with the Moscow Patriarchate Church in Russia, the same church the nuns once fled because of religious intolerance.

Believing the Moscow church is still headed by many of the same leaders appointed long ago by the Soviet regime, leaders which include former KGB agents who did the bidding of the former communist regime, the nuns broke away.

They then joined the Canada-based Russian Orthodox Church in Exile. The action sparked a dispute over their Moss Beach land on which Our Lady of Vladimir stands.

The nuns will not yet comment on the settlement.

Their attorney, Michael Bassi, was unavailable for comment, however it is reported they are at peace with the result because it allows them to maintain their

independence, land and finances which they can now pass on to the next generation without further interference from the central church.

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