Cranes and building sites are a common sight on the Costa del Sol but the construction of a Russian Orthodox church is not. Work has been going on for about two months now in the Las Cañas area to build the first orthodox church in Andalucía and the third in Spain.
The highest religious authority in the Russian Orthodox church in Europe, Paris-based, Nestor Sirotenko, blessed the works which were instigated by the Fundación Iniciativa Ortodoxa Costa del Sol.
The foundation have been looking for a site to build the church for several years and had previously tried and failed to get the original four-million-euro project off the ground in Marbella and in Benahavís.
The bishop in his speech acknowledged that "in this day and age the construction of a church is a rare occurrence" and that the new church would "add beauty to an already marvellous place". He added that the building would be "open to all Christians and to the inhabitants".
The church will be called the Templo de la Ascensión de la Ortodoxa Rusa and will include the temple, a social and cultural centre and a park, constructed on a 5,844 square metre plot. The budget for the project has been reduced substantially to 1.1 million euros.
The style of the building will be a contemporary interpretation of a traditional orthodox church with a golden dome, according to the architect Diego Tobal. It will accommodate 500 people and will have a bell tower nine metres high. The cultural centre will be horseshoe-shaped and will have classrooms, offices, multiple-use areas and an interior patio. In all the buildings will cover 1,400 square metres and the rest will be a park with lots of trees and greenery. The works are due to be finished next year.