St. Andrew's Church in Moscow is a community of Christians who seek to
History of St Andrew's
This first article was supplied by James Colley, late member of the congregation at St. Andrew's, whose parents worshipped in the church before the Revolution, and, according to the family, were also married in the church just before worship was stopped, in October 1920. James himself worshipped in the church from its re-opening in 1991 until his death in 2002. (The text is adapted from an article by S.C. Romanyuk in "Architecture and Building in Moscow", 1995, No.3, Pages 42-46)
The Anglican Church was the public centre of Moscow’s British community. Before the current site was acquired, the British made use of the Reformed Church in the German settlement, where many of them lived. This Church was burnt down in the fire of 1812. After this the British rented the “decorous house of Lady Egermeistershy and Princess Anne Aleksandrovna Golitsina” on Tverskaya Street in the centre of Moscow. This was a large manor house dating from the second half of the 18th century of which the Anglican Church occupied only a small part.
The newspaper "Moscovskie vedomosti" ("Moscow record") published the following advertisement in 1825: "The Divine Service in accordance with the rite of the Anglican Church shall be held for the first time next Sunday 8th November at 11 o'clock in the morning. It shall be held every Sunday at the above mentioned time on Tverskaya in the house of the Princess Prozorovskaya." The Church met in this house on Tverskaya for some years more until the British community decided to obtain their own site. In 1828 they bought a house in Bolshoy Chernyshevsky Lane (Voznesensky Per. 8), still the site of the church today. After some renovation this house was opened as the British (Anglican) Chapel (its official name). It functioned until the end of 1870, when it became clear that it could not seat all of its parishioners - the Moscow British community had grown. The question of a new church building then arose.
In August 1878 a letter was sent to the Russia Company in London. This letter reported the unfortunate situation of the Church and the necessity of rebuilding. At the same time they started to discuss the question of architecture. It was decided to collect donations and to award the project to an English architect. As an architect they chose Richard Knill Freeman. His name was familiar to the people who came from Lancashire, since he lived and worked there. Freeman had built a lot in England: schoolhouses, libraries, museums, private residences, and churches. He sent to Moscow plans for a typical English church in the Victorian Gothic style.
In a general meeting the project was approved unanimously, and work on the building started. The church building was ready by 1884 and the first service was held on 2nd of September. Bishop Titcombe, who came out from London, consecrated the church on 13th January 1885. The Church was named for the Apostle St. Andrew, the patron of Scotland. This is not surprising, as the Scottish were the most respected and richest members of Moscow’s British community. In the same year the organ was installed - the building was famous for its acoustics.