The Lutheran church of Annenkirche cannot be found on the “tourist gems” map, the path to it is not trodden by all-knowing guides.
Meanwhile, this church is unique, with an unusual fate. Since its foundation in 1775, there were different things in its walls – Sunday church services accompanied by organ, film shows and rock concerts, desolation, and chaos reigned here at some moment. And now, among blacked by the fire interiors concerts and exhibitions are held, and the most charismatic pastor of St. Petersburg Eugene collects money for a new domed cross using crowdfunding and conducts excursions.
The church was erected at this place from 1775 to 1779 on the site of an old wooden building under the guidance of architect Yuri Felten, known for such works as Palace Square, interiors of the Winter Palace and the Summer Garden grid. He also became one of the first parishioners, along with Carl Faberge, Karl Bryullov, Peter Lesgaft.
During the XIX century, the church of St. Anne became the spiritual home for thousands of parishioners, many of whom were Russified Germans, Danes, and Dutch. She had a hospital and shelters. But after the 1917 revolution, the Annenkirche suffered along with the Lutheran faith.
In 1935, the temple was closed. And four years later, “Spartak” cinema was unexpectedly organized within the walls of a spiritual institution. Native Petersburgers know, that back in the 80s, this place was one of the few where Soviet citizens could see the masterpieces of world cinema, which had long been derived from the all-union rental.
In the 90s a rock club was opened in the building. Alternative music sounded in its walls, a casino, a bar, and even a tattoo parlour worked here. Attempt to revive the Lutheran church came in 1992-1997. In parallel with the film shows, there were also church services. In 2002, it was decided to break this strange neighborship by transferring the temple to Сhurch.
But Annenkirche had to endure a new ordeal – the strongest fire, that destroyed everything except walls. Now the church, numbered among the monuments of federal significance, is being restored and gradually transformed. There are church services. And in its burnt-out walls, a special cultural space is created: people of creative professions gather here, exhibitions, performances, organ concerts, lectures, and even operas are getting organized.
Since 2009, the temple, left without a roof by this time, in a state of utter devastation, by the decision of the Governor Valentina Matvienko, was transferred to the city management. This allowed to carry out the restoration of external facades of the temple, repair the roof. Now the Annenkirche visitors and just passersby see on Kirochnaya street the historical appearance of the St. Anne’s church.
A new stage of revival – the restoration of interiors. Covered with a peeling, burnt plaster walls, that resembles an apocalyptic picture are liked by young people it for being atmospheric. And yet they require significant material investments, as well as the restoration of the cross onto the bell tower.
239 years since the temple consecration – the date is not round. But it was decided by the pastors and caring parishioners to make a gift to their long-suffering “child” on this date – a new cross. The old one was removed from the dome of St. Anne’s Church 80 years ago, in the 1930s, when the Lutheran spiritual house was turned into a cinema.
The required amount is slightly more than 400 thousand rubles. The Annenkirche pastor – Eugene urged Petersburgers to support this charity project. The donations collecting took place on the crowdfunding platform “Planet”.
It should be noted, that crowdfunding in Russia is even less popular than Lutheranism. However, Annenkirche is the most popular Lutheran church in Russia and the money for the cross for it was collected in just one month.
The church on Kirochnaya Street is not the first Lutheran temple built in the northern capital. Annenkirche was originally built of wood and located in the Peter and Paul Fortress. The year of construction was 1704, which is only two years younger than Petersburg. Then the church was transferred first to the Mytny dvor, and then to its modern address, on Kirochnaya street.
Built-in stone, the church of St. Anne was consecrated in 1779. The building project was designed by architect Yuri Felten. It has its own zest: the construction has two equivalent facades facing different streets: Kirochnaya and Furshtatskaya. The appearance of the temple fits into the canons of that time. It is decorated with Ionic columns and a hexagonal round tower crowning the building.
A remarkable detail of the Annenkirche interior is the Ionic colonnade. It supports the arch of the vast hall, which can simultaneously accommodate about one and a half thousand visitors. But the most important decoration of this place is the large altar painting “Ascension of Christ”, made by E. Lipgart.
Creation of modern cultural space in Annenkirche began in 2014. Several artists offered to arrange an exhibition of contemporary art within the walls of the church. Soon, this unusual idea has received no less interesting embodiment. It was an exhibition called “Strah”, dedicated to human fears. In the sinister and mysterious setting of the half-burnt church, labyrinths, installations, plastic etudes, sound and light traps were arranged. There was even a special smell of fear and anxiety created by perfumer Nikolai Eremenko.
Over the exposition worked artists, photographers, sculptors, musicians. And all this for the sake of one goal – to look into the depths of consciousness, try to comprehend the peculiarities of a person’s inner world. And at the same time to give visitors the opportunity to challenge themselves through the contemplation of frank plots.
Currently Annenkirche – one of the cultural centres of the city. Every month there are dozens of events, that attend up to 10 thousand people per month. Some events are held regularly, according to the established schedule:
- English speaking club meetings
- film screenings
- educational lectures on religion, psychology, history
- course “Fundamentals of the Christian faith”
- Directing course “Annenkirche Cinema Course”
- candlelight chamber concerts, where you can enjoy the charming music and soulful atmosphere by donating
The Lutheran Church remains active, services are being held there. Masses are held in English and Russian.
Wednesday – Sunday: from 12:00 to 20:00
Church services every Sunday
9:30 – Mass in English
11:00 – Mass in Russian
15:00 – Mass in Russian
Annekirche is another unique phenomenon of St. Petersburg that makes this city special. Our travel agency does not focus on the Hermitage – we are constantly looking for new and interesting and make it available to our tourists.