On Mothering Sunday, the Anglican Church in St Petersburg returned to its original home of the English Church of St Mary and All Saints for its Sunday service. Led by Rev Stiiv Knowers, a regular Tallinn-based locum, the service was well-attended and was followed by a performance by the St Petersburg Music Hall Theatre’s Northern Symphony Orchestra, in honour of our guest of honour, Prince Michael of Kent. He was visiting the city for the weekend. Prince Michael is a regular visitor to Russia where he is patron of a number of charity, arts & humanitarian organisations.

The Music Hall Theatre has recently taken over the lease of the church building, state-owned since 1919, which sits on the left bank of the Neva at 56 English Embankment. The church, with its classical facade, was the last project of the great Italian Palladian architect, Giacomo Quarenghi, although the church interior was later heavily remodelled in Victorian Gothic style.

It is this fine interior that the Music Hall Theatre intends to restore, in cooperation with the local Anglican community, and then use from early 2018 as a second venue for chamber concerts. As part of these plans, the Anglican Church in St Petersburg will also have regular access from 2018 to hold its Sunday services there and, during the restoration work, it is also hoped that the beautiful Victorian stained glass panels, currently languishing against the wall in the organ niche, will be rehung in the windows.

Adrian Terris from the congregation says; “Returning on a permanent basis to its original home in the English Church of St Mary and All Saints can only be positive for the development of the Anglican Church in St Petersburg and help raise its profile and grow its congregation.”

Photos are by congregation members Rick Macy & Pavel Vishnyakov. A short local TV news item (in Russian) on the events can be found here: