Kondopoga, Russia, August 13, 2018
A high school student who describes himself as a Satanist is suspected of setting fire to the 18th-century wooden Church of the Dormition in the village of Kondopoga in Karelia.
The entire historical church tragically burned to the ground on Friday, as OrthoChristian.com reported on Friday.
“A 15-year-old school student is suspected. He considers himself a Satanist. Apparently, he just didn’t like the church,” a source told Interfax-Religion.
Several people living in Kondopoga shared the same information with a Komsomolskaya Pravda reporter.
“Yes, it was a boy. 15 years old. He took five liters of gasoline, walked along the lake from the other side. It broke out like a match, like a dry tree,” one said.
Another local told her the boy had come to visit his grandmother for the summer. “He told his brother in the morning, ‘I’m going to set that church on fire.’ His brother didn’t believe him; he just laughed.”
One of the boy’s grandmother’s friends reports that when the police took him, he also just laughed.
The fire had begun to spread from the north side inside the church, which is why the guard did not immediately notice the fire, the regional head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations Sergei Shugaev explained.
The Russian Church has called on the Ministry of Culture to start better protecting the ancient wooden churches preserved in Karelia. “What can one guard and a fire alarm system do when it comes to a wooden structure? The state of such monuments is of serious concern, and we call on the Ministry of Culture to pay close attention to this problem,” Fr. Alexander Volkov, the patriarchal press secretary, said in a statement to RIA-Novosti.
According to the architect-restorer Tatiana Vakhrameeva, restoring the church would cost about 80 million rubles ($1,178,678).
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