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Work to start soon on new Russian Orthodox church near Estepona

Artist's drawing of the Costa's first dedicated Orthodox church.
Artist's drawing of the Costa's first dedicated Orthodox church. / SUR
  • Funds are still being raised for the striking onion-domed building that will have a cultural centre and is a scaled-down version of an earlier planned project in San Pedro

The town hall in Estepona has recently approved the use of a council-owned plot of land for the Costa's first purpose-built Russian Orthodox church.

The building, which will also have a cultural centre alongside, will be put up in the Arroyo de las Cañas area, east of the town near the A-7 motorway.

The charitable foundation that is coordinating the project and is still raising funds has said the building plans “are urgently being finished” to meet a strict timetable imposed by the town hall.

The council says that the foundation has a month from when the building licence was granted (11 January) to start work and that construction has to be finished within 18 months.

A statement by the group of Russian-speaking residents and businesses backing the church said: “We are doing all we can to implement the project.”

The church and cultural centre, which will be built on the 5,844-square-metre plot of land, will also arrange special events to promote Russian and Orthodox cultures and host Russian language classes.

The Orthodox church congregation on the Costa del Sol is the only one in Andalucía and is made up of Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Georgians and Moldovans.

For many years it has been renting different venues to hold its services on the coast but it has long had a dream of owning a dedicated building in the traditional onion-domed Orthodox style.

Only the third in Spain

The foundation behind the plans for what will be the first Russian Orthodox church building in Andalucía and only the third in Spain has only recently turned its sights to Estepona after reaching an agreement with the town hall there over a land grant. In 2013 Marbella council had offered a site at Azalea Beach, San Pedro, however local residents objected.

The budget for the construction on the new site is over 1.1 million euros, less than the original four-million-euro project proposed for Marbella, and the money is being raised through donations.

Estepona town hall has granted rights to use to land for 75 years free of charge as the foundation is a charitable organisation.