27 April 2006, 17:47
Cuban authorities want to turn Russian church in Havana into a centre of
Orthodoxy in the Carribeans
Moscow, April 27, Interfax - The Cuban government supports a project to
build a Russian Orthodox church in Havana, said Caridad Diego, head of
the Cuban Communist Party Executive Committee's department for religious
The Cuban leadership and the Moscow Patriarchate made the decision to
build the church two years ago, Diego told a news conference in Moscow
However, the best ideas were articulated during a recent meeting between
Cuban President Fidel Castro and Metropolitan of Smolensk and
Kaliningrad Kyrill, she said. "It was decided to build not just a church
for Cuban Russian Orthodox believers, but a large cathedral, where
Russian Orthodox priests will be trained not only for Cuba, but for the
whole Caribbean Basin and Latin America," she said.
"It is no secret that the construction of the Russian cathedral will
become a symbol of friendship and cooperation between our nations," she
The Russian Orthodox community in Cuba has expanded in recent years and
amounts to several thousand people, she said.
A great number of Russian Orthodox believers gathered for the
groundbreaking ceremony and on Russian Christmas day, and a concert hall
near the site of the future cathedral "was packed with Russian Orthodox
believers," she said.
"Not only Russian men and women residing in Cuba, but also Ukrainians
and Byelorussian - all Slavs professing Orthodoxy - came to celebrate
the holiday," she said.
The community is expanding mostly due to the increasing number of
Russian Orthodox families and children being brought up in Orthodox
traditions, she said.