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Anglican Christmas services return to St Petersburg: The Church of England Newspaper, January 13, 2013 p 5. January 21, 2013

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Altar of the English Church, St Petersburg

Ninety six years after its last service, an Anglican Christmas service was held  at the historic English Chapel in St Petersburg.

The British Consul General in St Petersburg along with English speaking Anglicans in the Russia’s second city returned to worship at the two hundred year old church for the second time since the October Revolution.  Last November, Remembrance Sunday was celebrated at the Church designed by the Imperial court architect Giacomo Quarenghi.

“It was very important to hold this service exactly in this church that once used to be the center of the British community for more than 200 years,” Mr Ward told the Moscow Times. “And it is very important for the British community to have access to this church again.”

Churchwarden Adrian Terris told the Moscow Times the expatriate community had been working for several years to worship once more in the English Church, and thanked the St. Petersburg Conservatory for their cooperation in allowing them to return.

Built by the Russia Company in Archangel, the church was moved to Russia’s new capital, St Petersburg in 1712.  From 1721 until 1917, the church was located at 56 English Embankment on land given by the Tsar to the British community in Russia.  The current Palladian neo-classical style church was built in 1875 to accommodate 2500 worshipers.  With the outbreak of the Russian Revolution, however, the church was closed and the building seized by the state.

Anglican worship resumed in St Petersburg following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1993, with services held at the city’s Swedish Lutheran Church.  The St Petersburg English Church is supported by St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Moscow, but the city has no resident Anglican chaplain at this time.

The church’s website states services St. Petersburg’s branch of the English church does not have its own permanent chaplain; services are instead led by Anglican clergy on short-term visits from Britain or by local clergy from the Swedish and Finnish Lutheran churches.