30 March 2011, 16:10
Atheist to build Russian church in Paris
Moscow, March 30, Interfax - A designer of the Russian Orthodox center in Paris architect Manuel Nunez-Yanovsky confessed he is an atheist.
"I am mystic atheist. But as far as culture is concerned I am closer to Orthodoxy than Catholicism, though I spent most part of my life in Spain and France," he said in his interview with the Izvestia on Wednesday.
The architect said there were Orthodox believers in his team, "for example young Odessite Andrey Moros, his father is a priest."
Spaniard Nunez-Yanovsky was born in 1942 in Samarkand, he was brought up and educated in Odessa, but has spent most of his life in Paris.
The Manuel Yanovsky Architects and Developers' Society (France) and the Arch Group won a competition for the best project for a Russian Orthodox cultural and religious center in Paris.
Both companies in their project proposals worked out a modern architectural complex with "recognized image of Russian Orthodoxy," the Property Management Department earlier reported at its website.
The dominating structure is traditional church with five cupolas integrated in light, airy glass corpus.
"Through glass windows you can see a side facade of the neighboring palace. Glass overhang covers the garden around the church. Laconic white church structure is accompanied with a bell tower in the central corner of the territory and glass cupolas glowing with golden light from the inside at night," description of the project reads. The bell tower is located in transparent crater formed by the roof.
The 4,249-square-meter plot, situated on the Branly Embankment between the Eiffel Tower and the Esplanade des Invalides and near the famous Alexander III Bridge, was put on auction by the French government on February 3, and Russia won the auction. The project implies the constriction of a Russian Orthodox church, office premises of the diocese, multipurpose halls and auditoriums of a theological school, a dormitory for students and a garden. The Russian Orthodox center in Paris is intended as a meeting place and a venue for cultural events for the Russian community and for making Russian spiritual culture known to Parisians.