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Russian Orthodox immigrants find a home in Rome

2012-08-19

IGOR VYZHANOV
Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria

"It's symbolic because we see here that it opens onto a beautiful view of Saint Peter's and from there you can see Saint Catherine's. Many Russians, Russian tourists come here saying 'we saw this church from St. Peter's'. It is a beautiful symbol of relations between the two churches.”

But beside the symbolic force this church carries in Rome, these two Churches have moved closer together through the forces of globalization allowing them to find that Catholics and Russian Orthodox share many things in common.

IGOR VYZHANOV
Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria

"What unites us is clear, it's our common roots, the apostolic succession, our common history and above all our positions on many issues of life coincide. Now, on some things we share points of view that are exactly the same.”

The church of Saint Catherine of Alexandria is the second Russian Orthodox Church in Rome. With its completion, it ends a project that began in the nineteenth century under the last Russian Tsar, however the country's communist revolution brought an end to its construction. Those who were faithful to the Church were forced to go underground.

IGOR VYZHANOV
Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria

"Immigrants who fled Russia during the civil war opened a church here, which still exists and is located in a residential building. It's not visible from the outside and you would never imagine that there is a church there. And this new church was built as a continuation of that old idea of having a true church here with domes and everything else.”

In this new church, many of the faithful who come here arrive from countries that were part of the former Soviet Union. They can now gather in a church that is completely built, to follow many of their traditions such as baptisms and celebrating Mass.


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