Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pardon Me, But Have You Seen Our Church Building?

I was a bit surprised when I heard about this news story today on the radio. Apparently, an abandoned Orthodox church building in Russia has turned up missing. That is to say, it is simply no longer present at the location where it was last seen in July.

My first question was "How on earth does something like this even happen?" How does one lose something as big (and as stationary) as a whole building? (Let alone a church building)

The article suggests that villagers may have sold the building (which apparently was already stripped of any items of value) to a local businessman. Naturally, these people had no legal authority to do this, although whether or not they realized exactly what they were doing is unclear from the short articles I have access to (here are a couple of others). In any event, the lost church building is stolen property.

Assuming that this is true, the question seems to me that the Orthodox priests and officials aren't so much looking for the lost building as what became of its components, or perhaps the identity of the businessman (again, the article isn't clear on whether or not this identity is known).

It would seem that the moral of this story is "Don't take your church buildings for granted. If you neglect them, they may not be there when you need them." Or, perhaps even more important: "Don't neglect the spiritual well-being of the people in your community. If so few of them are committed to going to church on a regular basis, why should anyone care what happens to the building?"

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