From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Russia: Fire Destroys Historic St. Petersburg Church
"Frank Imhoff" <FRANKI@elca.org>
Fri, 27 Dec 2002 09:17:02 -0600
ELCROS Appeals for Help toward Reconstruction
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia/GENEVA, 20 December 2002 (LWI) - The
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia and Other States (ELCROS)
has appealed for donations to rebuild St. Anne's Church in St.
Petersburg, which was destroyed by a fire on December 6 this year.
The local fire brigade was able to extinguish the fire only after
a number of hours. So far nothing is known about its cause.
According to ELCROS, an estimated 2 million EUR will be required
for the reconstruction of the church in the center of St.
First dedicated in 1779, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St.
Anne is one of the oldest churches in St. Petersburg. From 1925 to
1934 it housed the seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
the Soviet Union. The rooms of the church, which had been closed
in 1935 were used again for worship by the St. Anne congregation
itself and by that of St. Peter's from 1992 until the September
1997 rededication of the latter's church on Nevski Prospekt. In
1994 the first ELCROS general synod took place in St. Anne's
Until 2001 the building which had been confiscated by the Soviet
government in 1935 was used as a city cinema and later as a
night-club and bar. The archbishop of ELCROS, Prof. Georg D.
Kretschmar, had protested strongly against this use of the church
and demanded its return in the early nineties when the possibility
was mooted. After lengthy negotiations, an agreement was reached
mid-2002 to return te church in spring 2003. The plan was to set
up a religious church center in St. Anne's Church jointly with the
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia for individual
Lutheran groups in St. Petersburg, and to also make it available
for inter-confessional use.
Despite the devastating damage, ELCROS is still prepared to take
charge of the building, according to Kretschmar. Especially
because of the plan for the church to be used in future as an
encounter center, the building has a historically unique value.
But the archbishop underlined that the situation had changed since
the fire and therefore the conditions for taking over the building
had to be renegotiated.
(The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the
Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund (Sweden), the LWF now
has 136 member churches in 76 countries representing over 61.7
million of the 65.4 million Lutherans worldwide. The LWF acts on
behalf of its member churches in areas of common interest such as
ecumenical relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human
rights, communication, and the various aspects of mission and
development work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva,
[Lutheran World Information (LWI) is LWF's information service.
Unless specifically noted, material presented does not represent
positions or opinions of the LWF or of its various units. Where
the dateline of an article contains the notation (LWI), the
material may be freely reproduced with acknowledgment.]
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