St. Catherine’s Swedish Church

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Church of St. Catherine (Sankta Katarina kyrka) is a building in the neo-Romanesque style, which houses the Evangelical Lutheran parish

The history of the Swedish parish of St. Catherine begins at a time when the city of Peter the Great was not found yet. At the end of the XVII century, on the place where Okhta river flows into the Neva river, there was the Swedish town of Nyenschantz (Swedish Nyenskans, "Neva fortification"), where the Swedes had a cathedral church. The community was organized in 1640 and was originally part of the Church of Sweden. After Ingermanlandia was annexed to Russia following the results of the Northern War, the church service continued, but soon some of the inhabitants were resettled in St. Petersburg, and the parish moved to the so-called “finnish skerries” of St. Petersburg, behind the Main Pharmacy, where by 1710 the Finnish-Swedish church was opened. Meetings began in 1703 and were held in a private house by pastor Yakov Maidelin.

In 1734, Empress Anna Ioannovna presented the community with a land plot in the area of ​​modern Nevsky Prospekt, where a cross-shaped wooden church with a turret was built in the name of St. Anna, with an altar added in 1744. The following year, the Swedish and Finnish communities split. The Finnish community has remained in the same place - now there is the Finnish Church of St. Mary. The Swedes used their half of the site for creation of their own church-house. On this place a stone church for 300 people was laid, according to the design of J. M. Felten, facing the Swedish Lane. Catherine II donated 7 thousand rubles, and a small two-story building, decorated with pilasters, was consecrated in the name of the patron saint of the Empress, St. Catherine. The altar was decorated with the image of the “Crucifixion” and the predella “The Last Supper”. Jeweler N. Bergquist Sr. made a wonderful silver font in the Rococo style.

The modern church building, located next to the Consulate General of Sweden, was built nearby in 1856, when the old church became too narrow, designed by architect Carl Andersson, who was born in Stockholm, but lived and studied in St. Petersburg. It was a massive pseudo-Romanesque building with choirs containing a portal and a rosette window. Religious paintings were written by prof. Thiersch from Munich. The new church  accommodated 1,200 people. Later, an organ appeared.

In 1885, the parish consisted of 7,000 people, among them were the Finnish Swedes, Norwegians and Danes. Before the revolution, the parish had a school, two orphanages and an almshouse, but by this time it had reduced to 5200 people. The pastor was Arthur Malm. Famous parishioners were: scientists Gadolin and Oskar Backlund, jewelers C. Faberge and E. Bolin, the Nobel and Lidvall families. Here the future Finnish field marshal Mannerheim was married.

In Soviet times, the parish ceased to exist; the church  was closed and transformed into a gymnasium. Public church services resumed in part of the building in 1991. On December 15, 1991, a small community created by the descendants of former parishioners held their first service. In 2002 the church returned to full services, restoration began in 2004, and at the end of 2005 the church building was completely transferred to the parish.

A service is held every Sunday (twice a month in Swedish, the rest of Sundays - in Russian). In addition, the parish holds various cultural events.

Pastor - Eero Sepponen

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