Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New Russian Orthodox Church - One Of A Kind

By Staff Reporter ( 29/10/2007 Edition No.: 184)

When driving along the N-332 just north of Altea, you may have noticed a beautiful unique building being built, we certainly have and decided to find out more about its origins and aspirations.

The building is called the Temple of the Archangel San Miguel; a Russian Orthodox Church, the only one of its kind in the whole of Spain and an exact reproduction of a 17th Century Church. It is being built with material brought from Urales, near Alcoy, on a plot of land given to the project by Altea Town Hall.
Many of the construction workers are from Siberia, where the temperature can drop to 50 degrees below zero, so when in Altea it drops to 5 degrees centigrade, these workers are warm and in T-shirts! These specialist carpenters have been contracted by a Russian building company in the Costa Blanca. The altar is being made in Valencia, with Russian carvings, while the interior of the church will be decorated with paintings on the walls. To one side there will be a baptism temple with a pool, for the adults who wish to convert to the orthodox faith, and on the other side, a house for the priest, with a room for meetings and a social dining room.

The Orthodox Russian Church is more conservative than the Greek Orthodox Church, and gained huge popularity after the fall of communism. In Spain it is one of the religions with the fewest followers; believed to be just in Marbella, Torrevieja and Altea.
Many of the worshippers would not get on at all in Russia, but have been able to overcome their differences here. Ukrainians, Georgians, Lithuanians and Byelorussians have become one big happy family, with a language and beliefs in common.

The Ukrainian dancer Inna Gurishkina, who has been a huge success for years at the Benidorm Palace, now also volunteers to cook Russian dishes for the Siberian workers at the Church. She describes the church as a sanctuary. “For years I saw with my own eyes how it was forbidden to practice my Christian faith. Now I can even do it in Spain, where the climate is a blessing from God,” she adds.
Those involved in the project are happy with all the interest it has been causing. The project is being financed in its entirety by a Russian businessman, who wanted a place to worship for himself and his mother.

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