Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Prime Minister Putin Arrived In Petrozavodsk to Take Part in Christmas Worship


Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (1952- ). Christ is Born, Vova! Glorify Him!

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived in Petrozavodsk, where he will attend Christmas Divine Liturgy. He will attend services for the feast at the Church of the Entrance of the Lord into the Temple, one of the oldest Orthodox churches of the city. The church is located in the village of Solomennoe, on the shores of the strait that connects Lakes Onega and Logm. This was considered a sacred place since ancient times, the church stands on a monolithic stone, not having a single crack, towering over the lake and the surrounding buildings.

In the old days, there was a monastery situated here. The monastery was established long before the founding of Petrozavodsk, at the time of Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich (between 1585 and 1595), by Elder Kassian, a disciple of St Aleksandr of Svir. It caught the attention of Tsar Pyotr Veliki. According to legend, the tsar gave chairs for the altar as gifts to the church named for his heavenly patron. Supposedly, he made these chairs with his own hands. Following the closure of the monastery in 1764, next to the Church of Ss Peter and Paul, the Chapel of the Entrance of the Lord began building a new edifice, which was completed in 1780 through the efforts of Ilya Kononov, a merchant from St Petersburg. It had two side altars, one on the south side in honour of the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God, and another on the north side dedicated to the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Ss Constantine and Helen.

During the Soviet period, the parish church of Solomennoe did not avoid the sad fate of most Russian churches. In 1931, the Church of the Entrance was closed, its crosses were stripped off, and the dome was destroyed. The church was first used as a warehouse, and, then, it underwent renovation for use as a school and dormitory. By the 1980s and 90s, a gym and shop were located in the building. In 1996, the Church of the Entrance was returned to the Orthodox Church, but, the architectural image of the original church building had disappeared. At that time, the church was an ugly two-story building, mutilated by modifications, deprived of its domes, bell towers, and high arched windows. On 24 November 1996, Bishop Manuil of Petrozavodsk and Karelia served a molieben and a Blessing of Water at the beginning of reconstruction. The restored Church of the Entrance is noted for a unique interior decoration, a three-tiered handcarved iconostas executed by Palekh master-craftsmen.

7 January 2009




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