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Russia: the archbishop of Moscow consecrates the new little church of Solikamsk. A meeting of peoples, histories and cultures. “A sign of reconciliation”

A new little Catholic church dedicated to St Anne will be consecrated on Sunday, July 11th, in Solikamsk, a city in the Perm region, 1,200 km from the capital, by the archbishop of Moscow, mgr. Paolo Pezzi. “A long-awaited wish comes true for the Catholic community”, wrote a few days ago the parish priest, Erich Fink, who since 2000 has been taking care of Catholics living in the North of the region, which is inhabited by descendants of Russian, German, Polish, Italian and Armenian families sent to labour camps during the Second World War. “For them, the chance to have a chapel of their own is an important sign of recognition and reconciliation, which may heal some historical wounds”.

The church is a real “gem”, built in an Oriental style, with a Greek-cross plan, a square shape and three apses. The interiors are enriched by three icons of St Anne, created by Vladimir Ovchinnikov, an Orthodox iconographer, the same one who made the icons of the 14 stations of the Cross, though the latter are based on the Western tradition; the wooden ceiling frame (by Anatoly Lyngrin) is home to a fresco of Jesus Christ the Almighty (by artist Sergei Lapin). So, the chapel “acts as a bridge between the East and the West, really precious for anyone who may be interested in spirituality and culture”.

The fact it has been dedicated to St Anna is because the city’s Catholic community was home to Joseph Keller, who died a few months ago, and his granddaughter Anna, whose enthusiasm has left her mark on the life of this place. The church began to be built in November 2018, blessed by the archbishop with a cross planted on the site the church was to be erected in.


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