A historic 18th century church has burned to the ground in Russia’s Republic of Karelia, after being deliberately set on fire. A teenager, referred to by some locals as a devil worshipper, is suspected of the arson.
The Church of the Assumption of Our Lady, built in 1774 on a picturesque lakeshore in the town of Kondopoga in northwestern Russia, caught fire on Friday. The investigators said the structure started burning from inside, with the caretaker noticing the flames when it was already too late. The all-wooden 42-meter-tall church couldn’t be saved by fire crews and was turned into ashes in just a few hours.
A 15-year-old boy, who was visiting his grandmother in Karelia for the summer holidays, has been detained by the police over the incident. He reportedly used five liters of gasoline to destroy the historic building. Locals told Life tabloid that “the boy was a Satanist. He always dressed in black.” According to witnesses, he didn’t resist arrest, but was laughing when the officers handcuffed him.
The teen has been placed in a detention center for juvenile offenders, with a psychiatric evaluation ordered to determine his level of sanity.
However, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported that the boy committed the crime after receiving some kind of a “signal” on social media.
The perpetrator’s friend told the paper that he was browsing the web on his tablet when his face suddenly changed, he stood up and announced: “I’m going to burn the church.”
There are plans to rebuild the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady on the very same spot using the few remaining beams, with restoration artists saying the project will cost more than $1 million.
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