October 4, 2009

A Zoo in a Russian Church

A Priest Opens Pet's Corner in his Church Near St. Petersburg

Moscow, Russia
August 18, 2009

Rabbit cages and aquariums with crocodiles are kept under the same roof with the Holy Hierarch Spyridon parish in the town of Lomonosov near St. Petersburg.

"I want to promote children's love of God's creatures. This is some kind of the live message. Children come to enjoy what they see. I explain them that these are all God's creatures," church's rector Oleg Yemelyanenko explains his idea to open a pet's corner at the church in an interview to Pervy Canal.

Moreover, Father Oleg hopes to distract children from computers by bringing up his young parishioners in love of animals.

Fr. Oleg decided to open a pet's corner at the church when one of his parishioners gave him an iguana as a present. Now the collection counts to over 30 animals, including two chameleons, a male and a female, and several species of cockroaches - Blatella germanica (German cockroaches) and Panchlora cubensis (Cuban cockroaches). The latter reproduce themselves too fast.

The pet's corner and the parish are temporarily located in the former club, as the church's building is currently under renovation. After the renovation works are completed, the parish is going to return to its initial premises, and the club will be turned into a zoo.