The chapel in the name of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Grand Duke Vladimir was erected with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in memory of the Russian volunteers who died in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902.
The Anglo-Boer War was at the centre of attention of the entire civilised world. At the dawn of the 20th century, the war was seen as a major international event. It was this war that first drew the attention of the Russian public to Africa.
225 Russian volunteers took part in the Anglo-Boer War. Of course, this was only a small fraction of those who wanted to come to South Africa.
In addition to them, many natives of the Russian Empire, who were already in the south of the African continent at that time, took part in the hostilities.
One of the most outstanding and brave military commanders was Evgeny Yakovlevich Maksimov, who rose to the rank of general in the Boer army. He was forced to return to Russia because of numerous wounds.
The names of the following dead Russians are known: Lieutenant B. Strolman, Lieutenants S. Duplov, N. Petrov, V. Stessel and P. Ripert, Lieutenants L. Pokrovsky and I. Nikitin. The names of others have not come down to us, but undoubtedly there were more of them.
A medical detachment of the Russian Red Cross worked in South Africa from January to August 1900. It provided medical care to 6,806 sick and wounded.
It is reliably known that Saint Righteous John of Kronstadt, for spiritual strengthening, gave the volunteers an icon of the holy Archangel Michael, Archangel of God, with his own handwritten inscription, which read: "I call God's blessing upon your heads, I wish you a safe journey, to stand in defence of the deeply unhappy and oppressed fellow Boers and to return unharmed to your homeland. I present to you the image of the Archangel Michael. May the holy archangel protect you in the hours of danger!"
At present, the whereabouts of the icon are unknown, but in Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, a museum keeps an image of St Sergius of Radonezh sent from Russia during the war and a bratina containing 70,000 signatures of Russian people in support of the Boers.
The chapel received its name in honour of the first Russian Orthodox parish in the name of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Grand Duke Vladimir, which existed in Johannesburg in the middle of the XX century.
The project of the chapel was prepared by architect Yuri Kirs.
The laying of the chapel - the rite of foundation - was performed on Sunday 14 April 2013 by Archbishop Damaskin of Johannesburg and Pretoria, accompanied by the rector, Priest Daniel Lugovoy.
Ambassador of the Russian Federation M.I. Petrakov and Norilsk Nickel representative D.I. Grigoriev also took part in the laying ceremony.
The chapel was consecrated by His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Egorievsk on 6 October 2013 during the anniversary celebrations dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the consecration of the church.