May 13, 2011
The Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Administration for Foreign Institutions, Archbishop Mark of Yegoryevsk, consecrated yesterday the foundation stone of the first Orthodox church in Iceland.
Addressing the audience, State Duma Vice Speaker Lyubov Sliska said St. Nicholas was intentionally chosen as the patron saint of the Russian Orthodox community in Iceland. The holy patron of travellers and sailors is most popular in this country.
She expressed hope that the Russian business community supports the construction and the church put up by joint efforts of all people, and will unite the Russian community living in Iceland.
In his turn, President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson said consecration of the Russian church foundation would "open a new page in the history of relations between Iceland and Russia" and promised to give further assistance to the parish.
The Russian Orthodox community has thrice grown to become the fastest growing (in percentage) religious organization in Iceland. Today the parish unites about 400 immigrants from Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria, Byelorussia, Moldavia, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Greece and other countries, as well as native Icelanders.
The Reykjavik municipal administration decided to assign a section of land for the construction of the church free of charge in November 2004. Church services are currently conducted in temporary premises.