Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Orthodox Chapel on the Site of the Blockade Crematorium Will Open In St Petersburg on Victory Day

Bread During the War (Andrei Drozdov, 2005). This is what the blokadniki had to eat as their daily ration… it was not the “Good War” for them…

Construction of an Orthodox chapel in the Moscow Victory Park in St Petersburg on the former site of the blockade crematorium is nearing completion. It will open on 7 May, the press service of the Administration of the Moscow raion of St Petersburg reported on Wednesday. To speak of practical matters, the builders are almost ready to install the dome, but they need to complete the decoration of walls and place the cross, as well as landscape the grounds. The rector of the future chapel is always present at the construction site, overseeing the workers. At present, he informs passers-by when services are going to start here, he is still awaiting new icons and is recruiting proper choristers. Earlier reports stated that St Petersburg Governor Valentina Matvienko discussed the issue of construction of the chapel with Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias. Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov is one of the proponents of the idea of building a chapel on this site. He promised financial support both from his personal funds and from his political party for the project.

A man holding his bread ration in his hand… the daily allotment was 125 grammes (@4.5 ounces) of bread per adult… that’s why the Great Patriotic War is remembered in Russia… the Russian people suffered… the American people prospered… reflect on that.

During the Great Patriotic War, the crematorium in the park was in operation for 1,042 days, including about 760 days during the siege of Leningrad. During this time, according to preliminary data, this facility cremated the bodies of more than 600,000 civilians and soldiers in the Hero City of Leningrad. For ideological reasons, in the past, the numbers killed in those years were understated. Moscow Victory Park in the “northern capital”, the only park in Europe with such a tragic past, until recently, remained a blank page in the history of the siege of Leningrad. After the war, when the authorities closed this crematorium, relatives of the victims of the blockade began spontaneously to plant trees, upon which they placed tags inscribed with the names of the victims. At Easter and Trinity (Pentecost), thousands of people remembered their loved ones here. In the 1990s, veterans fought plans to build a shopping mall on the Victory Park site. Orthodox believers have placed a memorial cross here. The local Orthodox community initiated the discussions on the possibility of building a chapel-monument on the spot where the former crematorium stood.

14 April 2010



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