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One of our churches is missing

A church has vanished from the Russian village where it stood for almost
200 years, the local diocese said on Tuesday.

The Church of Christ's Resurrection, in the central Russian village of
Komarovo, was built in 1809 but in early October someone took it away
brick by brick, Father Vitaly a spokesman for the local Russian Orthodox
Church, told Reuters.

'We have sent a letter to local prosecutors,' he said. 'Who exactly did
this, the investigation will show.'

The church was in an isolated area only occasionally visited by clergymen,
so the disappearance was not immediately noticed.

Komarovo is in the Ivanovo region, about 300 km north-east of Moscow.

The church was not in use but clergy had been considering resuming
services there, the Ivanovo-Voznesenskaya and Kineshemskaya diocese
said in a statement on its Internet site.

A survey of the large, two-storey church a few months ago found that it
was structurally sound, but now all that remains are the foundations and
sections of walls, the statement said.

Thieves routinely make off with church property in rural Russia, where
unemployment, petty crime and alcoholism are widespread.

Criminals target religious icons stored in churches because they can fetch
a good price, and church buildings are dismantled to provide building

'This is not an isolated case,' said Father Vitaly. 'In many villages in
central Russia sites of historical interest are being dismantled and people
suffer by being deprived of their cultural heritage.'
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