The Vevey (Switzerland) Russian Orthodox Church: a jewel in peril
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The 140 years old church is in urgent need of renovation. But they don’t’ have enough money to do it.

Origin of the church: a romantic story

In 1872, at the death of his wife Barbara Petrovna, in childbirth, and of their daughter, Count Shuvalov decided to build a church in Vevey  for their repose, at his own expense – 1 million gold francs, a huge amount at the time.

The first prayer service in this church dedicated to the Martyr Barbara took place in October 1878. However, only in 1950 were the deceased able to rest in the vault, as the authorities refused until then any burials outside of the communal cemetery. Many Russian aristocrats, artists, students and revolutionaries settled in this region in the second half of the nineteenth century. Orthodox prayer services were organized as early as 1850 in Vevey, especially in the Angleterre Hôtel. To avoid long journeys to the church in Geneva.

The church of Saint Barbara in Vevey is falling apart.

Pieces of plaster broke around pillars and frescoes illustrating biblical scenes. The iconostasis also lost some of its pieces and its golden color. The brilliancy of some centuries old works has faded away. The dome is also in need of repair, and the electrical and lighting system have to be brought up to standard. It would be good to renovate the parish hall in the basement. As a whole, a major restoration is needed. This church is the second largest Orthodox Church in Switzerland, after that of Geneva.

The need of repair was made clear ten years ago, but they don’t have enough money to do it. The church operates exclusively thanks to volunteer work. More than 2 million Swiss francs are needed. Fundraising solutions are being considered.

Despite these difficulties, the church of St. Barbara will be celebrating its 140 years on October, 13-14.

Source (with picture)

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About the Author

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne was born and raised in France. She taught English before entering the Cistercian Order. She translated and published articles relevant to her interest in Cistercian spirituality, the Middle Ages, and Orthodoxy. She moved to the United States in 2001, converted to Orthodoxy in 2008, and married. Her husband is an Orthodox priest. She continued to publish articles, a Cistercian texts anthology, then finally launched her career in literary translation, while teaching French. If you are interested in having your book translated into French, she can be contacted here https://wordsandpeace.com/contact-me/

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