Church Plans Eco-Complex Near Azov

The Russian Orthodox Church is planning an “environmental” complex complete with a visitor center, climate-controlled greenhouses and a dock for boats near the southern city of Azov.

Abbot Diodoros, rector of the John the Baptist monastery in Azov, presented the proposals to the State Duma on Friday, the monastery’s website said.  

According to details obtained by Interfax, Predtechensky Posad — which roughly translates as John the Baptist Quarter — will occupy a 25 hectare area on the banks of the river Azovka, a tributary of the Don.

The center will be entirely energy independent, heated and lit exclusively by wind, solar and heat-transfer pumps, and, at least according to the plan, produce no waste.

The complex will include a small monastery with a church dedicated to the icon of Our Lady of Vatoped, spiritual-educational and environmental centers, a Cossack institute, an “ethno-cultural” youth camp, recreational areas and a swimming pool for locals.

Several climate-controlled greenhouses will be used to house rare plants and replicate various natural environments ranging from the steppe to tropical jungles. The complex will also include an aquarium, Diodoros said, Interfax reported.

Nearby there will be a hotel with an amusement park and a marina.

No budget for the project has been mentioned, nor whether the funds are to come from the Church, the state budget or private investors.

The Rostov region city already hosts a religious youth camp called John the Baptist Town, which is described on its VKontakte page as a “school of faith and patriotism for Don youth”  jointly organized by the Rostov-on-Don diocese, the Don Cossack Army, and an outfit called the “Orthodox Mission” and involving counter-intelligence officers and Interior Ministry forces.

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