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The daughter of a Christchurch actress
fights church duplicity in Moscow,


Is the Moscow Anglican Church flouting Russian law to satisfy American commercial interests? Is a new darkness stalking the land with wolves congregating in clerics' clothing?

Consider the facts. During the Soviet era St Andrew's Anglican Church, Moscow, built 1882, was taken over by the state. Religious observances were forbidden and because of its splendid acoustics, the church was used as a famed studio by the recording company 'Melodiya'.

In 1992, after the fall of Communism, services were resumed in the Church and while Queen Elizabeth II, the official head of the Anglican Church, was on a historic state visit in October 1994, Russia's first President, Boris Yeltsin promised to return St Andrew's to the Anglican community in Moscow.

St Andrew's Anglican Church, Moscow. Photo courtesy of EXXIM
St Andrew's Anglican Church, Moscow. Photo courtesy of EXXIM

He ultimately forgot to fulfill the promise and to this day, just as in Soviet times, the church remains the property of the Russian state. While services take place in the church with Kremlin approval, the question of ownership or long term rent, remains unresolved. Litigation between Moscow Anglican Church and the State Property Committee has dragged on interminably.

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Copyright © 21 August 2005 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


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