German aid to restore church in Novgorod hailed

The outlook for cooperation between Russia and Germany is very bright, Mikhail Shvydkoi, Russia's minister of culture, declared here last week.

As related to Rosbalt by the press service of the Velikhy Novgorod Administration, Shvydkoi, Reinhardt Kraus, Germany's consul general in Saint Petersburg, and Reiner Svitserloot, chairman of the German firm Vintershall, took part in the gala opening of the now restored Uspeniye Bogoroditsa Church in Volotovoye Field. Kraus said, in part: 'Today's event is of world significance. This Russian church, restored with the help of Germany, has been turned over to the civil society.' The visitors noted the high quality of the construction and expressed hope that the church's unique frescoes, which had seemed lost forever just a few years ago, might be restored.

At present, the frescoes exist as tens of thousands of fragments in the hands of the restoration workshops of Tamara Anisimova. In the view of the restorers, restoration will take several years. Vintershall will finance the work.

The church, built in 1352, was destroyed during the Great Fatherland War. The restoration has been done on the basis of a contract, signed in 2001 by the Russian Ministry of Culture and its German counterpart, by which Germany agreed to pay USD 1.52 million and return 111 stained-glass windows that were taken from the USSR during the war and have now been returned to the State Hermitage Museum.

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