Just three patches of fresco remain in St Catherine’s, following restoration work carried out after the church was handed over to the Russian Orthodox Church by local legislators in 2010

German heritage advocates have accused the Russian Orthodox Church of causing irreversible damage to the 14th-century Brick Gothic church of St Catherine at Arnau near Kaliningrad, especially to its frescoes.
“The… iconography of the painting[s] in St Catherine’s Church in Arnau from the 14th century had not yet been thoroughly researched [and they] are irretrievably lost,” wrote Nicole Riedl, an expert in Medieval wall paintings at Hawk University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hildesheim, Germany in her report, after she visited the church in July with a group of activists from the German-based Kuratorium Arnau.

Walter Rix, a German academic who led the trip and is one of the founders of Kuratorium Arnau, which was created in 1992 by German historians, theologians and art experts to save the church and its frescoes, described St Catherine’s in a 2010 report to the Nordic World Heritage Foundation as the second oldest “within the total of the historic realm of the Order of Teutonic Knights”.


Sophia Kishkovsky
The Art Newspaper