OLDEST CHRISTIAN CHURCH IN RUSSIA BUILT IN 967

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STAVROPOL, March 22, 2004. (RIA Novosti). Experts have established the exact date of the construction of the ancient Christian Sentinsky Church in Karachayevo-Circassia (Russia's constituent republic in the North Caucasus).

Preparing the restoration of Byzantine frescoes on the vaulting of the Sentinsky church, the experts found the date of its construction written in ancient Greek. The oldest church of the Alans (ancestors of the Ossetins) in Russian territory was consecrated and open on April 2, 967.

This discovery made a sensation for archaeologists and orthodox historians, director of the Karachayevo-Circassian state museum-reserve Umar Elkanov told RIA Novosti on Monday. "The Academy of Sciences was highly interested in our report on the find revealing the origin of the Sentinsky Church and on the problems of restoration of all the five Alan churches," he said.

The Sentinsky, Shaoninsky and three Nizhne-Arkhyzsky Churches have always been an attraction for archaeologists, historians, clergymen and tourists from many countries.

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