In Leningrad Oblast, we find a lot of interesting abandoned churches. This is the abandoned church St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, located in the nowadays sleepy village of Rel (Рель).
The place of this ruined church has for long been a sacred place.
The church St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, is a beautiful stone church built between 1870-1887 and replaced the older wooden church from the year 1627 which was burnt down, caused by a candle from the altar. Or, to be honest, this was the second wooden church on this spot that the fire took. Now you will understand why they built a church of stone.
At this time, the church was located on the square of the village, but it’s hard to imagine today how lively the village was before. It was hard work to construct the church on the hill, and not less than 70 persons worked with moving granite stones for construction with the help of horses up on the hill. The name of the village, Рель, means low mountain or a hill and from mostly this area the donations for building the church came. The size of the church fitted 800 persons.
The church was closed in 1939. The Soviet government had no problems with plundering and devastation of churches so the church was soon abandoned and emptied. It was decaying until early 1989. For one year restoration started but was soon canceled due to lack of funds.
All wooden equipment and decorations have been removed and used to fireplaces. Impressing though, some inhabitants still seems to use a part of the church for their services.