Old Russian fishing village on the Barents Sea coast may get its destroyed churches rebuilt


The Russian Orthodox Church continues to increase its presence in the North. Last year, it installed orthodox crosses on Svalbard and Franz Josef Land. In April, it announced that it would build new churches on Novaya Zemlya to serve the 12th Main Directorate of the Russian Ministry of Defense responsible for nuclear weapons. It also has plans to build a 70-meter tall cathedral, as well as a spiritual and sports center, the first one in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Arctic city of Murmansk. 

In the future, this long list of construction projects may be expanded by “Orthodox Teriberka”, a concept developed by the Severomorsk diocese, Murmansk regional news outlet Nord-News reports. According to archpriest Alexander Kozachuk, the secretary of the diocesan administration and rector of the local Church of the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God, the project aims to recreate destroyed churches, build an open-air museum in the form of a fort, create a pilgrimage route and erect buildings in the authentic Pomor style in the old fishing village of Teriberka located some 120 kilometers northeast of Murmansk. The diocese proposes to use the territory of old Teriberka and the village of Lodeynoye for development.


Orthodox Teriberka project. Photo: Severomorsk Diocese


The concept also envisages the construction of cottages for pilgrims and tourists. Thanks to its non-profit status, the Russian Orthodox Church is exempt from many taxes, such as property tax and land tax. 

Alexander Kozachuk notes that Teriberka used to have a prison or “ostrozhek (a small prison) as it was called”. This claim has raised doubts among some locals. One of them, Igor Gorshenin, notes “Ostrozhek in Teriberka? I wonder what sources mention this? It would be very interesting to read them, because logic says: I don’t believe it! Even if we assume that there was, as it says, an “ostrozhek” then the first question is: who was there to defend it? Only Kola had soldiers. And secondly: WHY? Why have a prison at one of the numerous seasonal fishing settlements on the coast.”


The project will be implemented in collaboration with Innotech 21, a foundation for the development of support for the revival of Russian church architecture. The fundraising campaign for the project has already begun.