On September 9, 2021, Bishop Ivan Laptev met with Rev. Vladimir Bitkin, the senior pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Maliye Kolpany, a village in Leningrad Oblast, and with the leadership of this rural community to discuss the best use of vacant space in the church building. The bishop supported the idea put forward by St. Peter’s congregation and the Society of Ingrian Finns to establish a museum of local history and a culture & leisure center in the church’s vacant rooms.
On September 11, 2021, the congregation installed the tombstone of the Schwindt family on a concrete socle in front of the church.
The tombstone once marked the burial place of Pastor Paul Theodor Schwindt who served this church in the 19th century and his close family who were buried in the cemetery of Maliye Kolpany. The cemetery was razed in the mid-1970’s and the gravestone was taken to Leningrad/St. Petersburg and used in the construction of an embankment.
A river flood in St. Petersburg earlier this year brought the fragmented monument ashore where it was found by local residents. The guardians of St. Petersburg’s Smolensky Lutheran Cemetery and members of St. Catherine’s Lutheran Church of St. Petersburg (The Evangelical Lutheran Church of European Russia) had the twelve pieces brought to a safer place in the city and later delivered to St. Peter’s Church in the village of Maliye Kolpany. The expenses were covered by St. Peter’s Church with the invaluable moral and financial support from St. Catherine’s Church. We’d like to express our cordial thanks to Rev. Elvira Zhejds, a pastor and the chairperson of the church council at St. Catherine’s.