First Liturgy in nearly a century in Russian village church

Krugloe Pole, Tatarstan, Russia, August 24, 2021     

Holy Theophany Church in the Tatar village of Krugloe Pole was closed by the godless Soviet authorities in 1932, leaving it without Divine services for several decades. And the last episcopal service was held there in 1914.

However, the rebirth of the church is now underway, and the Divine Liturgy was joyously celebrated there on Saturday, August 21, for the first time in 89 years, reports Orthodoxy in Tatarstan.

The service was headed by His Grace Bishop Innokenty, vicar of the Kazan Diocese, together with the local rector Archpriest Vitaly Staheev and other local clergy.

Restoration work is currently underway in the altar and central part of the church, so the service was held in the church refectory under the open sky. The service was well attended by local believers and parishioners of nearby churches.     

Following the service, Bp. Innokenty congratulated all on the occasion of the first Liturgy in the reviving church, and offered a word encouraging all to earnestly strive for holiness, “because the pursuit of holiness is the whole essence of human life. It is a return to Heaven.”

On the feast of the Transfiguration, August 19, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the Church of the Transfiguration on Kizhi Island in the Russian Republic of Karelia for the first time in 84 years.


The village of Krugloe Pole has been known since 1773, and Holy Theophany Church was built in 1829, with a side altar dedicated to the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God.

The rector Fr. Alexey Atamanov was arrested in 1930 and the subsequent priest, Fr. Pavel Sizov, was arrested in 1932, after which the church began to fall into disrepair.

Attempts were made to restore the church several times. According to Fr. Vitaly, he decided to restore the church 30 years ago, even before he became a priest. In the summer and autumn of 2018, prayers were held in the church and the faithful began cleaning the church. They also began collecting money, and in January 2019, a trailer was installed on the territory to serve as a temporary worship space while the church is being restored.

The first Divine service was held in the church on January 18, 2019, when Fr. Vitaly served the blessing of water.

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