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The building of the Lutheran Center on Lykova, 3 in Akademgorodok (Academy City) of Novosibirsk is the third facility where seminary classes have taken place. The first place was a rented apartment. The first academic year was supposed to start in a new building on September 1, 1997, but that building was not completed on time, and so the builders rented an apartment where the students were able to begin their studies, albeit one month later than it was originally planned.

The new building-large, three-story brick, in the woods-was finally completed by December of 1997, at which time the seminary moved there. This building was originally designed to be a family residence, but then it was rebuilt into the compact seminary, which accommodated chapel, a little classroom, library, library, kitchen, dining room, TV room, and also rooms for the students and the guests. The classes were held in this building for two and a half years, from December of 1997 to May of 2001.

While this facility worked well enough for the first matriculated class of six men, a problem of lack of classroom area arose in 1999 due to the increase of the student body. We had to move the sessions of the first-year class to the dining room, where the neighboring kitchen did not have the best effect on the academic learning.

It was the obvious lack of space that stimulated the further move of the seminary. A new building was acquired in 2001 on Smeny Street, which later was renamed Lykova Street. The building used to belong to a Siberian bank that went bankrupt due to the economic default of 1998. It is symbolic that the West Siberian Christian Mission (the official structure of which the seminary was a part) was among the clients of that bank. The bank building was fated to become the storage of spiritual treasures.

The inner reconstruction took about half a year. The spacious hall where the bank transactions were held became the church sanctuary as well as the seminary chapel, while a similar room on the second floor was turned into an auditorium for the seminary. The new name of the building became "Lutheran Center" since the several partner organizations were housed in it-Evangelical Lutheran Parish of St. Andrew (earlier the "Bible Lutheran Church" (BLC) while its official registered name is "West Siberian Christian Mission" (WSCM)), Lutheran Heritage Foundation, Faith and Hope humanitarian aid organization. This name proved to be relevant, as the building got a reputation as the ideological center of Lutheranism in West Siberia.

The Seminary facilities that are related to the LTS everyday educational process are located mostly on the second level, though the presence of the seminary is felt more or less on every floor. The electronic "brain" of the building is situated on the microscopic third floor: there the LTS server is to be found as well as the small printing center enabling the copying of the study materials as needed. The LTS manager also works there. The second floor comprises the LTS auditorium, another classroom, library with a reading hall, computer lab, seminary reception room, and the offices of rector, professors, translators, organist, nurse, and so on. According to the original project a special inner layout of the auditorium was planned that envisioned specially constructed student desks to accommodate up to 70 people at a time for special activities. Unfortunately, the level of support did not enable this idea to turn into reality.

The spiritual center of the building-the church sanctuary-is naturally situated on the first floor of the building. It has remained practically unchanged since its consecration on September 2, 2001. The marble walls were inherited from the Bank: they fit the concept of a sanctuary very nicely, adding the cold "Italian" twist to its appearance. The marble in the altar area was added during reconstruction to keep the unity of the interior design. One can see that it is slightly different in color from the original marble in the narthex. This variety helps to structurally single out the altar as the special space in the church. The Baptismal Font is placed where it must be-at the entrance to the Church. It visibly reminds of Baptism to everyone who comes into the Church. Baptismal Liturgies are conducted there occasionally. All of the church furniture-Font, Altar, Lectionary, Pulpit, Pew-was constructed by the local Novosibirsk company which also made furniture for the Roman Catholic Church in Novosibirsk.

On the reredos is a crucifix which was made in Italy and was a gift to Siberian Lutherans from professors and students of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, USA. We hope that in time the walls of the church sanctuary will be decorated with other forms of church art. A mosaic can be laid in the niche on the right wall. There are also thoughts of installing the traditional stations of the cross around the perimeter of the sanctuary. For now these are just plans, something to be realized in the future.

In addition to the sanctuary, another small classroom is located on the first floor. Six to eight people can study there. At times the seminary classes are held there, also the Sunday school classes are offered in this classroom. Next to this is a room used for visiting over tea and cookies after the church service.

A room that is still called "the bar" (this is what was there when it was a Bank) is located at the other end of the corridor, behind the security room. This is the only room that was not touched by renovation, primarily because administrative work during the building renovation was centered here. The students used to gather in this "bar room" for a tea break after Matins. This is what this room was intended for. However, because of the new class of 2004 this room became too small for everybody, and so people moved to the church's tea room. Now the "bar" is used mostly as a place for private conversations, and also the video club gathers there on the weekend-parishioners and guests of the church can watch movies there and then discuss them. And, finally, a little room for the youngest members of St. Andrew's can be found at the other end of the corridor behind the sanctuary. Adults' entrance with their shoes on is strictly prohibited!

There are a number of offices on the ground floor of the building. People working in different organizations forming the Lutheran Center work there. First, the office of SELC's bishop-elect is located there as well as a reception room for the bishop-elect's deacon-secretary. It is in the office of the bishop-elect that the Consistory meetings are held as well as more general meetings of SELC clergy. Besides serving as a place for official gatherings, this office has become a place where many people, including SELC guests, can come, have some coffee and feel themselves at home. The office of the associate pastor of St. Andrew's is located nearby. Accounting and maintenance are located on the same floor. And, finally, an office of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation is situated at the end of the corridor. Seminary and LHF works closely together, which is assisted by the fact that the local LHF Branch Director is also working as a translator at LTS.

And, finally, across from the Lutheran Heritage Foundation there is situated a book storage room. The Bank vault used to be there. Now spiritual literature is kept behind those massive metal doors.

Furnishing the building of the Lutheran Center is on its way. The walls on seminary floor received some decoration in the 2004-05 Academic Year. A reproduction of Andrei Rublev's "Old Testament Trinity" icon appears in the corridor on the wall, and the traditional Greek icon of the Baptism of the Lord greets the students as they enter the smaller classroom. The classroom itself has an icon of St. Athanasius the Great next to the teacher's lectern as a reminder of the necessity of teaching Orthodoxy-the pure doctrine of the Scripture at the seminary. It also reminds those familiar with the life of St. Athanasius that one may expect persecution in the name of Christ.

Both classrooms on the second floor are decorated with crucifices, which are located in such a way that all students can see them from their desks. The crucifix demonstrates that what is studied at the seminary is God's wisdom (1 Cor. 2:7), Christ crucified (1 Cor. 1:23). The Crucifix in the auditorium is made in the modern Roman style, while the Crucifix in the smaller classroom is a copy of the bronze Celtic crucifix of the eight century from County Roscommon.


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