The chapel dedicated to St Equal of the Apostles Great Prince Vladimir.
The chapel dedicated to St Equal of the Apostles Great Prince Vladimir was built with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill – in memory of Russian volunteers who were killed in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902.
The Anglo-Boer War was the focus of the entire civilized world. At the dawn of the XX century, the war was seen as a large international event. For the first time the Russian public’s attention was on Africa.
225 Russian volunteers took part in the Anglo-Boer War. Of course, it was only a small part of those who wanted to come to South Africa.
Apart from the Russian volunteers, many soldiers from the Russian Empire took part in the hostilities, who at that time were already in the South of the African continent.
One of the most famous and courageous commanders was Evgeniy Yakovlevich Maksimov, promoted to the rank of General of the Boer army. Because of the numerous injuries suffered, he was forced to return to Russia.
Other famous Russians who passed away during the war: Lieutenants B. Strolman, S. Duplov, N. Petrov, W. Stessel and P. Ripert; Sub-Lieutenant L. Pokrovsky and I. Nikitin. The names of others did not reach us, but surely there were more.
The medical detachment of the Russian Red Cross worked in South Africa from January to August 1900, medical care was provided to 6806 individuals who were either sick or wounded.
It is known that for spiritual strength, St. John of Kronstadt gave the volunteers an icon of the Archangel Michael with a handwritten sign that read: “I call on God’s blessing on your head, I wish you a safe journey, to help defend deeply troubled and oppressed fellow Boers and return unharmed to your homes. I entrust you with the icon of the Archangel Michael. The Holy Archangel shall protect you all in the hours of danger!”
Currently, the location of the icon is unknown – but in the museum located in the capital city of Pretoria in South Africa, lies the image of St. Sergius of Radonezh containing 70,000 Russian signatures written as support of the Boers – the icon was sent to South Africa from Russia during the war.
The name of the chapel was received in honour of the first Russian Orthodox parish of St.Vladimir, which existed in Johannesburg in the mid-XX century.
The project of the chapel was prepared by architect, Yuri Kirs.
The official commissioning and unveiling service for the chapel was carried out on Sunday, 14th April 2013. The Archbishop of Johannesburg and Pretoria, Damaskin conducted the service together with rector of the church Priest Danil Lugovoy.
The unveiling was also attended by Russian Ambassador M.I. Petrakov and representative of the company “Norilsk Nickel” D.I. Grigoriev.
The chapel was consecrated by His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Yegoryevsk on October 6th 2013 during the anniversary celebrations devoted to the 10th anniversary of the consecration of the Russian Orthodox church in Johannesburg.