Restoration work to a historic wooden Orthodox Church badly damaged in two arson attacks has begun. The church, in Narva-Jõesuu, a resort town, will take several years and cost around €600,000.
The state will provide close to €200,000 towards the restoration, which means the church, dedicated to the Icon of the Mother of God of Kazan, should get a new roof at least, while the hope is that the remainder will come from donations.
The church was also home to many icons and other cultural artifacts, most of which survived the two blazes, in February 2021 and again in June that year; 60 icons are also the subject of restoration work, at the Estonian National Museum (ERM) in Tartu.
Aivo Raud, board member at Scandec Ehitus, the firm tasked with the work, told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) that: "What can't be saved will be replaced, while what has been saved will be cleaned, restored, improved and finished."
"There is not much else to do. It is certainly much easier to build a new church, but this building will still be preserved as an older building and monument," he went on.
The arsonist(s) have still not been found; what made the attack particularly heinous is that 19th century wooden buildings are few and far between in an area severely ravaged in both world wars and the Estonian War of Independence.
"The church is an example of the wooden architecture of the glory days of Narva-Jõesuu," Korneli Morozov, a priest, told AK.
Initially it was thought that the church could not be saved, but once it became clear that around a third of the structure had survived, the lengthy process of setting up restoration work began.
While the overall work will not be finished for several years, the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God of Kazan, congregation says it hopes to be able to hold services in around a year's time.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael
Source: Aktuaalne kaamera