Gazetteer > Saratov
51º32' N 46º01' E
Saratof, Saratoff, Saratov, Saratow
      Saratov (1584), along with two other cities, Samara (1586) and Tsaritsyn (1589) were founded as frontier garrisons on the Volga to protect merchant ships on this waterways from being robbed. The formal ruler at this time was Fyodor Ivannovich, the second son of Ivan IV, also known as "Ivan the Terrible." Fyodor was weak and incapable and the regent Boris Godunov was the actual ruler of Russia. Boris Godunov ordered General Konstantin Zasekin to found all three cities.
      Over the next century, the settlement moved back and forth across the Volga in an effort to escape a series of natural disasters and the destruction that accompanied a peasant revolt led there by Stepan Razin in 1670.
      In the 1760's, colonists primarily from the German speaking land in Western Europe settled in Saratov and the surrounding steppe near the Volga River. Saratov grew from a small provincial outpost to become one of the largest and most prosperous cities in Russia and served as the center of industry for the Volga German colonists.
      There were both a Lutheran parish and a Roman Catholic parish for the Germans who lived in Saratov.
      The Lutheran parish in Saratov was officially organized in 1793, although Pastor Ahlbaum was active in the city before then.
      The Pope established the Diocese of Tiraspol, headquartered in Saratov on 3 July 1848. During its existence, there were five bishops:
Ferdinand Helanus Kahn (1850-1864)
Franz Xavier Zottmann (1872-1888)
Anton Johann Zerr (1889-1902)
Eduard von der Ropp (1902-1903)
Joseph Aloysius Kessler (1904-1930)

      This diocese went inactive in 1930 with the resignation of Bishop Kessler and officially vacant in 1933 when he died. It was formally "surpressed" in 2002 when the new Diocese of St. Clement in Saratov was established.
      The Catholic parishners of Saratov built a wooden church which was consecrated in 1805. This building was used until 1880 when a new brick building was erected. The architect was M. N. Grudistova, and the new building was consecrated to St. Clement (St. Klemens in German) when it was completed in 1881. Today the structure serves as a movie theatre called "Pioneer."

      Before the 1941 deportation, the Lutheran parish in Saratov has been served by the following pastors:
Laurentius Ahlbaum (1773-1786)
Johann Gottfried Herrmann (1803-1816)
Karl August Limmer (1818-1820)
Ignatius Aurelius Feßler (1819-1832)
Adam Christian Paulus Kohlreiff (1820-1822)
Johann Samuel Huber (1823-1834)
Johann Gross (1835-1853)
Konstantin Ferdinand Butzke (1855-1865)
Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Kossmann (1866-1888)
Gustav Schomburg (1883-1887)
Gustav Adolf Thomson (1888-1912)
Liborius Behning (1901-1926)
Felix Coulin (1905-1907)
Woldemar Lankau (1914-1918)
Erhard Torinus (1915-1918)
Arthur Kluck (1915-1918)
Eduard Seib (1918-1924)
Christfried Wagner (1926)
      Before the 1941 deportation, the Catholic parish in Saratov was served by the following priests:
Franz Xavier Aloysius Zottmann (1860-1872)
Anton Johann von Padua Zerr (1878)
Raphael Loran, Vicar (1898)
Emanuel Stang (1903-1914)
Adam Desch (1921-1931)
Post-Soviet Period
      St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded in 2001 in Saratov. It is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria (ELCI). There is a chapel in Saratov, and the pastor serving there is Olav Panchu.
- Diocese of Tiraspol (Russia) - Wikipedia
- Schnurr, Joseph. Die Kirchen und das Religiöse Leben der Russlanddeutschen - Evangelischer Teil (Stuttgart: Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland, 1972): 194.
External Links
- Saratov (Wikipedia)
- Map of Saratov (1925)
- Historic Saratov photos and maps (Russian site)
- Description of the city of Saratov and Saratov Province (Encyclopædia Britannica)
- St. John's Lutheran Church of Saratov (website - in English)
Last updated 10 September 2014.
Former house of R. Ehrt in Saratov, built in 1900. Photo from the book "German Architecture on the Volga".

Drawing of Saratov in 1711 - approximately 50 years before the arrival of the Volga German immigrants.

Saratov postcard from the early 1900s.

St. Klemens Cathedral (1913).
Courtesy of Steve Schreiber.

Lutheran Church in Saratov (1902).
Courtesy of Steve Schreiber.

Deutsche Strasse in Saratov (1863).
Source: George Valko.