ENGLISH VERSION: Romanov Remains Returned to Russia
The remains of a sister-on-law of the last Russian tsar, Nicolas II, have been taken from their resting place in Jerusalem back to Russia.
They will be displayed in Moscow before being exhibited in other parts of the country.
Theinitiative is seen as a major step by the Russian Orthodox church in exile to improve relations with the Orthodox church in Russia.
Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fedorovna, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England, was a sister of the tsar's wife Alexandra.
She was thrown down a well in July 1918 after the Russian revolution of the previous year.
Her remains were smuggled out of Russia and after a detour via China, reached Jerusalem, where they were interred in the Orthodox church of Saint Mary Magdalen.
She was later declared a saint by the Orthodox church.
Bishop Alexander, of the church in Russia, described the temporary return of the duchess's remains as a step forward in relations between the branches of the church.
The Orthodox patriarchate in Moscow and the Russian Orthodox church in exile have edged closer to each other since May, when Alexis II, head of the church in Russia, held talks in Moscow with Metropolitan Lavr, head of the church in exile.
It was the first serious top-level meeting between the two wings of the church since the Russian church fell under communist influence in the 1920s.
The remains of the grand duchess will be taken to different parts of Russia and former Soviet republics before being sent back to Jerusalem in February.
Earlier this month, analysis of DNA taken from a finger of the grand duchess provoked an angry polemic when a United States team used it to challenge a finding by a British scientist that the remains of the Russian royal family had been definitively identified.
The Russian government in 1998 identified bones found in a common grave in Yekaterinburg, formerly Sverdlovsk, as belonging to Tsar Nicholas, Tsarina Alexandra and three of their daughters.
The Russian authorities said then that the identification was 99 per cent certain following tests carried out by a British scientist, Peter Gill, comparing DNA fragments taken from the bones and blood taken from descendants of the tsars, including Britain's Duke of Edinburgh, the consort of Queen Elizabeth II.
But a team from Stanford University in California contradicted the finding, with its leader quoted as saying that "we have uncovered irregularities and inconsistencies (and very strange goings-on) in the case," and that the results claimed by Gill were "essentially impossible".
Some elements in Russia, particularly in the Orthodox Church, maintained that the bodies were not those of the royal family, but the bones were re-interred in the Romanov family crypt on the 80th anniversary of their murder in 1998.