Showing posts from November, 2019

A Taste of Riga

We've had some news in the last couple weeks. My husband is being transferred to another seminary to teach future pastors of the Latvian Lutheran Church. As a result, we will be moving to Riga, Latvia early next year.

We visited that very interesting city in early October, so I'll introduce you to a gem from the city. Tucked into a small alley in Riga, we discovered a tiny restaurant called Lasite.

 The building housing the restaurant was actually build in 1454 as part of the ancient fortification of the Medieval city of Riga.

In 1975, while Latvia was still under Soviet rule, the building was turned into a cafe. The architect tried to maintain the spirit of the Middle Ages with its arches and stained-glass windows.

The paintings on the outside walls make the quaint cafe very eye-appealing and inviting. But once you enter the restaurant, you are transported back in time.

People have to stoop through the low arched doorways. Walking past the suit of armor in the corner makes one…

Telling the True Story

The pictures below were painted in the basement of St. Peter's Lutheran Church in St. Petersburg, Russia after the church was restored to the congregation. It shares the basement space with the cement swimming pool that was in last week's post. The pictures tell the history of Lutherans under the Soviet control. I'll repeat the story behind the pictures.

People were brought before government officials and questioned about their faith. 

The churches were seized and desecrated by the steeple torn down or other atrocities. Children were taught that religions were bad and should not be listened to.

Men were seized and forced to go on transportation trains east to Siberia. 

During the cold winter days in Siberia, the prisoners were forced to cut trees and work in the woods for the government.

The exiles were kept in a Soviet gulag - a forced labor camp - behind a fence because they were prisoners.

With all the men shipped to Siberia, the Lutheran women had to meet in secret in homes …

Church Made into a Swimming Pool?

In August I had the chance to visit one of the oldest and largest churches in St. Petersburg - the Lutheran Church of St. Peter and St. Paul on our main street Nevsky Prospect. Known by most as the German Lutheran Church, this congregation was started in the early 1800s by (you guessed it) German immigrants. By 1917, St. Peter Lutheran Church had 15,000 members.

And then the Revolution took place... All Lutherans in the city were persecuted and the churches basically dismantled during the next fifteen years. The Soviet government took over the buildings turning some into barns, granaries, movie theaters, and concert halls. St. Peter's had a different purpose in its future. They turned this church into a swimming pool for high-dive competitions.

The church used to have the main floor worship area and two balconies to hold all the worshippers before 1917. When the Soviets took over the church, they built a huge concrete swimming pool from the basement up through the main floor and in…