Germany: future of stained-glass panels discussed

The St. Petersburg Dialogue, a Russian-German forum held in Weimar, Germany on 9 and 10 April, discussed cultural issues, including the future of the Marienkirche stained-glass panels, director of the…

The St. Petersburg Dialogue, a Russian-German forum held in Weimar, Germany on 9 and 10 April, discussed cultural issues, including the future of the Marienkirche stained-glass panels, director of the Hermitage State Museum Mikhail Piotrovsky told the press after an exhibition of stained-glass panels opened in St. Petersburg on 2 April. Piotrovsky, who took part in the forum, said that the Hermitage had published the catalogue of the exhibition of the Marienkirche stained-glass panels before the forum, so it was clear what issues will be discussed. On 2 April, 15 restored stained-glass panels of the 111 created in the 14th century to decorate the Altar of the Church of St. Mary (Marienkirche) in Frankfort-on-Oder were displayed in the Hermitage. The restoration work was carried out by Hermitage restorers and took six months. The stained-glass panels, illustrating Evangelical and Biblical legends, were removed from the church in the summer of 1943 when the Allied air force started bombing Frankfort-on-Oder. The approaching Soviet Army caused the German authorities to move them to Potsdam, where they remained until the surrender of Germany. In August 1946 they were brought to the Hermitage. The Russian State Duma is to debate a draft law on transferring the stained-glass panels to Germany, submitted to the lower house by Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. The stained-glass panels will be passed over to Germany “only after the State Duma makes an appropriate decision,” Piotrovsky said.