German churches on the territory of the Russian Federation: photo, history, description

German churches on the territory of the Russian Federation: photo, history, description
German churches on the territory of the Russian Federation: photo, history, description

The first German church in Russia was built in Moscow after a special tsar's permission from Ivan the Terrible. Construction was completed by 1576, and the temple was consecrated in honor of St. Michael. Since the 17th century in Russia, the number of German specialists has constantly increased, and since up to 3/4 of them belonged to Lutherans, the construction of Lutheran churches was inherent in their communities. During the years of Soviet power, most of the churches were destroyed or adapted for other purposes. But after 1988, the creation of the German Lutheran Church in the USSR and the collapse of the state, many churches, known as kirchs, returned to their original purpose. Some of them, representing the spiritual and cultural heritage, are classified as architectural monuments.

interior of the church of St. Anna in St. Petersburg at the present time

The emergence of the German Church in Russia

In the 17th century, several German communities were attested, of which the largest were in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Arkhangelsk, Yaroslavl, Tula, Perm. In some citiesafter the building permit given by the Moscow church, the construction of Lutheran churches also began.

During the period of Peter the Great's reforms, with their unlimited access to the state of foreign specialists, the influx of German Lutherans into Russia increased significantly. In the manifesto of 1702, Peter I, among other privileges, granted foreigners free religion, which gave them the right to public worship and the construction of churches anywhere in the city, and not just within the German Quarter, as was the case before. During the 18th century, Lutheran communities formed mainly in industrial and economically important cities such as St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Barnaul, Smolensk, Tobolsk, Kazan, Omsk, Orenburg, Mogilev, Polotsk. The German Church was present in almost every one of these cities.

Church of St. Anne, Annenkirche in St. Petersburg

Spread of Lutheran churches in Russia

A large influx of German settlers, who were attracted by the manifesto of the Empress, followed after 1763. The political and economic goal of Catherine II was to populate the sparsely populated regions of the Volga, the Black Sea region, the south of Little Russia, Bessarabia, and the North Caucasus. Alexander I continued the same trend, so soon many German communities with Lutheran churches appeared in these regions.

According to church statistics, by 1905 the St. Petersburg district had 145 Lutheran churches, Moscow - 142. The settlement with the largest number of German churches was St. Petersburg, where since 1703,Since the founding of the city, the first German church functioned on the territory of the Peter and Paul Fortress. It was wooden and small, with one low bell tower.

Interior Features

The Lutheran denomination does not consider it important the issue of the internal structure of churches according to certain canons. Classical churches contain a division traditional for Christian churches with a nave, a narthex, choirs, a transept and an altar part. One or two bell towers usually rise above the narthex (pritor). The configuration of modern Lutheran churches at the discretion of the architect and customer can be arranged differently, without internal zoning and towers above the entrance.

Another feature of the church, different from the churches of most Protestant denominations, is temple painting, which Lutheranism does not attach significant importance to, as in Catholicism. The interior design may be limited to an altarpiece, or may contain frescoes, mosaics, stained glass, and other elaborate elements.

Interior of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Moscow

Architectural features

As with the interior design, the Holy German Church pays homage to the beauty of architectural configurations. There are no restrictions on the forms of German churches, and most of them can be considered masterpieces of temple architecture. Their appearance reflects the features of those architectural trends, during the period of domination of which the buildings were built. Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance style can only be found in those German churches that were oncebuilt by Catholics and passed into the possession of the Lutheran Church. Buildings erected since the emergence of the confession, that is, from the 16th century, correspond to the architecture of baroque and classicism, the buildings of the 19th century are characterized by neo-gothic forms, and the temples of the 20th century embodied the forms of modernity. German photos of churches in Germany reflect all of the styles listed. Characteristic for the churches of Russia and the former Soviet republics is architecture, mainly in the spirit of baroque, classicism and neo-gothic. For all traditional German temples, three prevailing types of buildings can be distinguished.


Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Moscow

These are massive buildings that house or once housed an episcopal see. There are few buildings of this type in Russia, belonging to the German parish. In Kaliningrad, a unique building of the inactive cathedral of 1380 with the rarest Gothic architecture in Russia has been preserved. This Dome Cathedral is consecrated in the name of Our Lady and St. Adalbert, it is ranked among the monuments of architecture and cultural heritage. Saints Peter and Paul - a German cathedral of 1838 in St. Petersburg, with the archiepiscopal department of ELKRAS located in it. The cathedral of the same name in Moscow is one of the oldest German churches in the Russian Federation, created in 1695 and reconstructed in 1818. It houses the archiepiscopal see of ELTSER.

Cathedral of Koenigsberg in Kaliningrad

Churches and chapels

A common type of religious building is the parish church. They, old and new, are located in Russiaquite a lot, including those that are not currently in operation or have been adapted for other needs. An example of this is the building of the former German church in St. Petersburg. The neo-Romanesque church with Gothic elements was built in 1864 on the model of the city cathedral in Mainz. The building was re-equipped beyond recognition by the Soviet authorities for the recreation center of communication workers. St. Petersburg is still the Russian city with the largest number of churches built by German Lutherans. With their temple architecture, they brought a special Western European atmosphere to the appearance of this city.

The former German church, now the recreation center of communication workers Bolshaya Morskaya st., 58

Chapel - a small building, usually for special needs, erected in cemeteries, railway stations, hospitals, private residences, churches. In such buildings, any Lutheran cult rites can be performed. German chapels were most often built in neo-Gothic style and are the most common type of church architecture.

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