Church of St. John the Baptist
-the Kaluga region, Kaluga, Moskovskaya Street, 30.
There were two significant events in history of the temple named after the St. John the Baptist, which determined its current appearance.
The first episode was related to the fire in Kaluga in 1735. The majority of temples were made of wood that time. It burnt down with many town building in fire. Its sexton also burnt: at the cost of his life, he managed to save the wonder-working icon – the image St. John the Baptist. It is known that people came to prey to this icon against headaches. It was lost in Soviet times, however some very old grannies remember this icon.
The temple grew from stone from flames. It rests on oak piles and large boulders. It seems that a small river and ground waters flew somewhere nearby.
The second event dates back to the mid 50’s. The altar facing Moskovskaya Street, former Ioannovskaya, was dismantled that time, because it “did not let vehicles pass”. That time people started to say that the temple lost its head from hands of “Disbelievers” like the saint after whom it was named.
In 1995, the temple was transferred to Kaluga Diocese. During cleaning, not individual vehicles, but entire fleets removed garbage from the temple, because in Soviet times, one part of it was occupied by a food warehouse, but the other by a cultural and educational school with floors and classrooms. The restoration was started from roof, because during inspection it turned out that some bearing beams were missing in the roof: they were sawed down to be used as firewood in war years.
Divine services have been served in the church since 1998. A Sunday school, a pilgrim service and an evening school for adults are organised by the temple.
The Temple of St. John the Baptist is an architectural monument and a town planning monument of republican significance. It is unique for Kaluga – this is a 25 metre high pillar-free tower temple; all the interior walls are painted. The temple is characteristic for the Baroque epoch.
You can see the wonder-working icon of the Virgin Mary of Tikhvin, which has renewed itself. It was donated to the temple by as family living nearby. Earlier it was hanging in a room of a young man, who was killed, and his relatives, according to the lifetime wish of the killed man, donated the icon to the temple of St. John the Baptist.
A small particle of relics of St. John the Baptist, which was brought from Montenegro, is of great value for the temple. Not each Christian city has a sanctity of such great man of faith. There is also a chest with holy relics holding a particle of the Holy Sepulchre, particle of the Life-giving Cross, a particle of the Oak of Mamre, particles of relics of Blessed Sergius of Radonezh and Saint Seraphim of Sarov, Princess Elisabeth, some Optina Elders, Silouan the Athonite and other saints in the temple.