Friday, 17 October 2014

A Russian Orthodox Church in Dresden

photos of Russisch-Orthodoxe Kirche des Heiligen Simeon vom wunderbaren Berge, Dresden, by Andie Gilmour

Near our holiday apartment in Dresden, beside the busy Fritz-Löffler-Straße, stands the magnificently named and exceedingly pretty Russisch-Orthodoxe Kirche des Heiligen Simeon vom wunderbaren Berge or Russian Orthodox Church of Saint Simeon of the Wonderful Mountain (Церковь преподобного Симеона Дивногорца).

It was built between 1872 and 1874 by the architect Harald Julius von Bosse, who designed public buildings and churches in St. Petersberg and Helsinki, became state architect to the Russian Tsar Alexander II, and was elevated into Russian nobility.

photos of Russisch-Orthodoxe Kirche des Heiligen Simeon vom wunderbaren Berge, Dresden, by Andie Gilmour

Von Bosse moved to Dresden in 1863 for health reasons and lived here until his death in 1894. Though by then retired, he left Dresden with this little Russian jewel, which thankfully was also spared the firestorms of the Dresden bombings in WW2.

photos of Russisch-Orthodoxe Kirche des Heiligen Simeon vom wunderbaren Berge, Dresden, by Andie Gilmour

The existential writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky, who lived in Dresden from 1869 to 1871, had his daughter Lyubov baptised in this Church. The composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, who also lived for some time in Dresden, gave a large donation to the church for the installation of gas heating (still functioning to this day). Additional (temporary) community members include anarchist and revolutionary Mikhail Bakunin and novelist Ivan Turgenev.

photos of Russisch-Orthodoxe Kirche des Heiligen Simeon vom wunderbaren Berge, Dresden, by Andie Gilmour

Today it still serves a community of around a thousand church members. If all churches were this gorgeous, I might consider going to church more often (or, at all).

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