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Lutheran Church of St. Catherine (Saint Petersburg)

1 Bolshoi Avenue of Vasilievsky Island, Saint Petersburg (tel.: +7 812 323-18-52), Metro stations: "Vasileostrovskaya".

http://st-katharina-orgel.ru

From the foundation of St. Petersburg, many Lutherans have including merchants, military men, officials, and students lived in Vasilievsky Island. In 1728, a community was formed. It occupied a wooden house at the corner of 1st Line and Bolshoi Avenue.

On 16 June 1729, a prayer room was consecrated there. Later, the house was used as a base to build an individual wooden church, which was consecrated on 29 July 1744, and dedicated to St. Peter the Apostle.

Yury Felten designed a stone building in the style of Early Classicism, which was meant for 1,100 people. It was also he who made sketches of interior decorations. On 22 June 1768, the foundation stone of the present Church was laid and the completed building was consecrated on 26 January 1771 in the name of St. Catherine, a tutelary saint of Empress. Catherine II donated 2,000 roubles for it.

From the outside, the building was adorned with a Dorian gallery. Inside, the space was divided by Corinthian columns into three naves. During the day, the interior, rich with gilding, was illuminated by two rows of windows, while, in the evening — by three crystal chandeliers. Two copies were hanging in the altar: one of the Peter Paul Rubens' "The Last Supper" by Lucas Pfandzelt, the other was "The Resurrection" copied from Charles-Amedee-Philippe van Loo's painting by Gavriel Kozlov. Original paintings by Elias Grimmel "The Temptation of Adam" and "The Crucifixion" were on the walls. Two gilded statues represented Faith and Charity.

During the reconstruction of 1852, a new organ by Metzel of Regensburg was installed in the Church. In 1857 and 1868, some modifications were made inside. In 1883, a marble statue of the Saviour by A. Bock appeared.

During the restoration works performed between 1895 and 1897, architect Vladimir Langwagen made choir stalls inside. In 1902 and 1903, L. Marschner enlarged the building adding places for stairs. It was the reason to move statues of St. Peter and St. Paul from the gallery to new corner niches.

In 1903, the large Walcker organ appeared in the interior. The first Church's pastor, from 1729 to 1740, was Trefurt, a well-educated and active person. From 1764 to 1799, I. Grot, a famous preacher and author of a book on the history of Protestantism in Russia, served in the Church. The last deans were Artur Rheintal and Oskar Viren.

In the early 20th century, the community numbered 8,000 people. The Church kept a parish and trading school, two orphanages, a non-traditional middle school, a kindergarten, a widow's abode, and inexpensive flats. Since 1883, on the first day of the Easter, a clergy of the parish hold Catholic requiem service in Smolensk Lutheran Cemetery.

In the early 1920s, the Church was passed on to the Baptists and became their centre. On 1 August 1935, it was closed and occupied by the Students Activity Centre.

In 1990, several of the building's rooms, which by then was used as a recording studio, were returned to the Lutheran Community. On Christmas day of 1990, divine services were resumed. However, they were held regularly only since August 1997, after the whole building was handed back to the believers. In the beginning of 1999, the Sauer organ, the biggest one in the city, was installed in the Church.

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Lutheran Church of St. Catherine

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