The largest Russian Orthodox church in Central Asia opened yesterday in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.
The St Vladimir Church stands at a height of 34 metres (not including the cross), covers an area of 1,040 square metres and can accommodate up to 2,500 people.
Head of the Central Asian Metropolitan District, Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent and Uzbekistan, led the consecration ceremony, which was also attended by bishops from Uzbekistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, as well as representatives from the presidential and governmental administration and diplomatic missions in the city.
Construction of the church, located in the southern part of Bishkek, began in the mid-1990s.The consecration ceremony was timed to coincide with the 1,000 year anniversary of St Vladimir’s death, celebrated by the Russian Orthodox Church this year.
The population of Central Asia is predominantly Muslim, but the Russian Orthodox Church experienced a revival in the 1980s, having been repressed for much of the Soviet era. In recent years, however, Orthodoxy has faced competition in the region from other, predominantly evangelical, denominations.