Distinguished Guest in the Visitation Parish05:30 PM | By Stanislaw Strutynski | Category: Parish and pastoral care, News
Distinguished Guest in the Visitation Parish, where we have a church which once used to serve as a cemetery chapel for St.-Petersburg Catholics – in the cemetery, where up to the Revolution of 1917 over 40.000 dead had found their eternal resting place. Mr. Consul-General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr Peter Schaller, will pay an official, long expected visit, as was previously announced, at 21 Mineralna Street in Vyborg Quarter, on 28th of March 2011, to get acquainted with the present situation of the Parish. For the last ten years, a lot of efforts have been put into placing the church grounds on the list of vintage items of historic value, protected by law, unfortunately to no positive effect, which makes it impossible to carry out renovation works at the church.The architect of this cemetery chapel, which is 150 years old, was Nikolas Leontevitch Benois (1813- 1898); his mother, Anna-Katharina Groppe, was of German descent. Nikolas is considered the founder of the organization of artists’ and architects’ families of Saint-Petersburg, to whom such families as Kavos, Frolov and Sir Peter Ustinov belonged, to name only some. The mortal remains of the architect Benois rest in the church’s crypt, along with the bodies of seven archbishops, members of the aristocratic family Potocki, and other celebrities. At the time of communist reign the graves were broken into, and since then they have found themselves under water, because the church building with all its sewage installation and water pipes have been cut off the city net; all that makes the renovation even more urgent and necessary, as was quite often publicized at various actions that were initiated by diplomatic posts in radio and television broadcasts, as well as in the press. Father Richard Stark SVD has been trying to renovate this jewel of the world’s cultural heritage since 1999, in spite of the opposition on the part of commercial businesses and slow procedures of the responsible authorities which the city government itself had obliged to act on behalf of them. He has been trying to get the permission to have the church grounds returned to the Parish due to the project worked out by the city committee for construction works and architecture, the project concerning border questions. On the occasion of the German Consul-General’s visit to St.-Petersburg it was reminded of this urgent matter and unsolved problem facing the Blessed Virgin Mary Visitation Parish, for which the Parish Priest and the international members of his parish are very grateful.