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17 Feb 2014

Belarus’ only Lutheran church restoration to complete by June

GRODNO, 18 February (BelTA) – The facade of the only Lutheran church in Belarus (Grodno) will be restored by June, Grodno Mayor Andrei Khudyk told media on 17 February, BelTA learned.

This architectural specimen located in the historical part of Grodno has long required a major restoration. The relevant design and estimate documentation was developed in 2011. However, there were no funds for the project.

Restoration works conducted inside the church about 15 years ago made it possible to hold services, but the facade of the church needs improvements.

The Grodno authorities have addressed various organizations across Belarus. “Letters have been sent to almost 100 companies, including German-funded firms. Some responses came back quickly. We have not got a single categorical “no”, so there are hopes that the church will be restored with the help of the community,” Andrei Khudyk said.

Over Br1 billion has been raised. The bulk of the sum was provided by Grodno’s company Conte SPA. A number of other companies have transferred some Br15-20 million each.

The works on the facade of the church will be launched in the near future. Among the works completed is waterproof finish of the foundations, their consolidation, perimeter walks.

“The facade will be ready for the festival of ethnic cultures which is due in Grodno in June,” the Mayor said. The restoration of the Lutheran church was discussed at the meeting between Grodno Oblast Governor Vladimir Kravtsov and Geman Ambassador to Belarus Wolfram Maas. The diplomat stressed that the German side is ready to take part in the restoration works. Germany has found an organ which can be placed in the church (the original instrument was lost in the Soviet times). The musical instrument will be soon brought to Grodno. It should be tuned and ready by the festival of ethnic cultures. The German side is ready to finance the interior decoration. As for the state support, the Lutheran community should prepare all the necessary documents for the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Grodno Protestant Church is the only acting Lutheran church in Belarus. The church was first mentioned in 1793 when King Stanislaw II presented the building of the former tavern to the Lutheran community that comprised craftsmen coming from Germany to work in Grodno. By 1843 the building of the former tavern was rebuilt into a stone church.

The church was almost destroyed during World War One and World War Two. In 1993 the community of Grodno Lutherans resumed the activity of the church.

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