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Warsaw to have first Polish Orthodox church in 100 years

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 27.09.2011 13:02
Poland's capital will soon have its first new Eastern Orthodox church in one hundred years.


Archbishop Sawa of Warsaw, who is head of the Orthodox Church throughout Poland, hopes that construction will begin next year in the southern Urysnow district.

The archbishop's office has revealed that the design will be modelled on the famed Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) in Istanbul, formerly an Eastern Orthodox Cathedral before the Byzantine Empire was overrun in 1453, The cathedral was the turned into a mosque, and had minarets added, and then was later made into a museum.

Nevertheless, the archbishop's secretary, Father Jerzy Doroszkiewicz has emphasized that the structure will be considerably smaller in scale.

The number of Orthodox believers in the capital has been growing in recent years, necessitating need to build a new house of worship.

It is currently estimated that there are about 30,000 to 40,000 Varsovians affiliated to the Orthodox rite. In the whole of Poland, official figures from the Central Statistical Office (GUS) put the numbers at 506,800.

Two Orthodox houses of worship currently exist in the city. An imposing cathedral once stood in the centre of the capital on Saski Square. However, after Poland regained its independence in 1918, it was torn down as a symbol of Russian rule.

Several proposals have been mooted over the last two years, as regards the location of the new house of worship. However, clashes with other projects, or a lack of suitable infrastructure, caused those plans to fall by the wayside.

However, the archbishop's office is confident that the current option – which has not provoked any problems - will bear fruit. The plot, which covers about half a hectare is currently owned by the city.

“The land is not ours yet,” Father Doroszkiewicz noted, but he is optimistic “that the decision regarding its transference will be made by the end of the year.” (nh/pg)

tags: religion
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