St. Saviour's

Riga, Latvia

This little church commissioned by British traders living in Riga was built in 1857 on a shipload of English soil specially imported from the UK. Consecrated in 1859, the church was only full when British warships visited Latvia. Transformed into a student disco during Soviet times, it is once again a place of worship which is attended by Riga's English-speaking expat population. Its pastor and his dedicated flock are also renowned for their charitable works.

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Address

Anglikāņu iela 2a, Riga, Latvia
See all sites in Riga

Details

Founded: 1857-1859
Category: Religious sites in Latvia
Historical period: Part of the Russian Empire (Latvia)

More Information

www.inyourpocket.com

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Vladimir G (4 months ago)
Impressive church
George On tour (8 months ago)
The congregation’s involvement in community outreach programs is a direct result of its history. In the early 19th century, British traders were active in the territory now known as Latvia, and British sailors were a common sight on the streets of Riga. On occasion, the sailors got into trouble and were incarcerated. Partly in response to this issue, British businessmen in 1806 established a British Poor Fund, whose purposes were threefold: 1) to provide temporary relief for distressed British subjects; 2) to endow a British clergyman to celebrate services according to the Rites of the Church of England; and 3) to build a church and residence for the clergyman. A congregation was founded in 1822, and the foundation stone of the church was laid in 1857. A shipload of earth was sent from Britain so that the church could be built on British soil. Bricks were provided as well. The church was dedicated on July 26 1859, as the Church of St. Saviour in Riga, and the first regular church service was held in November 1859. When in 1941 neighbouring St. Peter’s Lutheran Church was devastated its parish moved to St. Saviour’s and existed there for some time also during the Soviet period. From 1973, it became the home of the Riga Polytechnic Institute’s Student Club. During this period, the church building was renewed, and it became a cultural centre and venue for concerts, exhibitions, and dances.
artis jankavs (9 months ago)
It's a old one.... and nice
Dirk Bohrer (10 months ago)
Nice church which seems to have the real Christian attitude.
Sa Pr (14 months ago)
An active Anglican victorian gothic church, designed by the architect Johann Felsko. The foundation stone was laid in 1857 and the church was dedicated on 26 July 1859.
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The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.