The church was founded by Archdeacon Pavel
Troshenkin and over the last eighteen years the team
of priests has continued his work. They have worked
with the deaf community to evolve the sign language
that they currently use in worship.
The services are for everyone and the ability to
go there and worship and be able to mix with people
from outside the blind and deaf community is part of
what makes this church so important for those who
In our family, children are hard of hearing.
Taking my children to a usual church was impossible.
They simply wouldnt understand. The first time we
came here, my husband and I knew instantly that this
was our church, says parishioner Elena
The church was chosen for these special services
because there are no columns, so the priest can be
seen from any point during the sermon. Confession is
held in sign language in a screened-off section, and
whereas in most churches the icons of the religion
are purely visual, in this church the blind are able
to touch them.
In a usual church, icons are only available
visually. This is the first church that makes relief
icons accessible to blind parishioners, says
President of the European Deaf Blind Union Sergey
Sirotkin. I asked people why this could not be
done before, but got no answer. I was told icons
were only intended for visual perception, and that
spiritual interaction was only possible through
eyesight. I think, though, that this is wrong,
People who come to the Tikhvin Icon of Our Lady
Temple to express their faith say they are happy to
have such a special place of worship, but until
there are other churches like this, they will remain
some of the few who can.