Church of the Icon
of the Virgin of Kazan in Sillamae
In the 19th century the
Estonian village Sllamaggi (today the town of Sillamae, its
population - about fourteen thousand) and the area around it came to
the attention of artists, writers, musicians and scientists who took
to spending summers here on the Baltic sea coast enjoying the
natural beauty of the place and its mild climate. In summer the
population of the resort significantly increased because of the
influx of such holiday makers from St. Petersburg. Among them were
composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, researcher Ivan Pavlov, artist
Konstantin Somov, poet Konstantin Balmont.
For decades, the
picturesque seaside resort attracted not only those in search of
relaxation, but also those seeking inspiration. To meet their
spiritual and religious needs, help people, as well as to provide
guidance for performance of acts of mercy by churchmen, various
events were organized to raise funds for construction of an Orthodox
church in a nearby place called
The fundraising took two years, and the church was built to the
design of architect Montaga, most of the funds were donated by
eminent visitors of the vacation resort. The temple was consecrated
on July 12, 1898. At the time the church was running an orphanage
and a work-house manufacturing textiles.
The church deans were
elected by competition between priests from the Narva and Jõhvi
parishes. Church services in Sillamae were held during summer
holidays, and priests could have board, lodging and certain
remuneration for holding of services.
Starting with 1912 for over
five years services in the temple were conducted by Father Ioann
Kochurov, a priest and a catechist teaching the Law of the Lord in
the Narva Russian gymnasiums. Prior to his assignment to Narva, from
1907, Father Ioann served as a priest in Chicago, USA (Fr. John of
Chicago) working together with Bishop Tikhon Bellavin, the future
Tikhon of Moscow. For his labor, as well as for participation in
the construction and establishment of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in
Chicago Fr. Ioann got a Certificate of Merit from the then US
president (in addition to other awards from St. Petersburg
authorities), and later became an honorary citizen of Chicago.
In 1916, archpriest Ioann
was transferred back to Russia to Tsarskoye Selo, a suburb of
Petrograd, to become a member of the clergy of St. Catherine’s
Cathedral. This is where he was brutally murdered in the course of
revolutionary events in October 1917 while zealously fulfilling the
obligations of his rank and protecting his flock. In 1993 archpriest
Father Ioann Kochurov was consecrated a new Russian martyr.
During WWII the Sillamae
church was razed to the ground, and it was only 50 years later, in
1990, when the local orthodox parish community was officially
registered under the Church of the Icon of the Virgin of Kazan,
which re-opened in Sillamae with Archpriest Alexander Pidvysotsky as
its Dean. At that time the church was just a one-storey Finnish
house in Rechnaya street on the bank of the river Sytke. The house
was converted for the church needs: the walls and partitions inside
the house were removed, the altar space separated from the rest of
the floor area, the dome with a cross was put up, and on March 29,
1990 the Most Holy Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexey the
Second issued the decree governing inauguration of an orthodox
parish community in the town of Sillamae, and on April 4, 1990 the
temple was consecrated.
July, 1995 the belfry was completed, the roof with the dome and a
cross was put up - thus the church acquired traditional
architectural features of a Russian Orthodox temple. And finally on
July 29, 1995 the temple was consecrated by Cornelius, Archbishop of
Tallinn and All Estonia.
Since 1999 hitherto duties
of Father Superior of the Church have been performed by archpriest
Nikolay Terentjev, and in 2002 the position of the second priest was
taken by priest Vladimir Lihhachev, who holds it to the present day.
Today the church runs a
Sunday School, organizes pilgrim journeys and maintains close
contacts with other parishes.