Fire destroys St. Anne's Church

Russia: Fire Destroys Historic St. Petersburg Church

From "Frank Imhoff" <>

Date 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. Petersburg. 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 Church. 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, Switzerland.) [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.] * * * LUTHERAN WORLD INFORMATION PO Box 2100, CH-1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland English Editor: Pauline Mumia E-mail: Tel: (41.22) 791.63.54 Fax: (41.22) 791.66.30