Page last updated at 20:46 GMT, Thursday, 13 November 2008

Russian church 'taken by thieves'

File image of Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Moscow
Thieves frequently target churches in the Russian countryside

A 200-year-old church building has disappeared from a village in central Russia, officials from the Russian Orthodox Church say.

The building had stood near the village of Komarovo since 1809.

It was intact in July but some time in early October thieves made off with it brick by brick, they said.

Local prosecutors had been informed and an investigation was under way, a spokesman for the local Russian Orthodox Church said.

The disappearance of the Church of the Resurrection, some 300 km (186 miles) north-east of Moscow, was not immediately noticed.

It was in an out-of-the-way area and was not being used, although Church officials were considering resuming services there.

Now all that remained of the two-storey building - a school before it was turned over to the Church - were its foundations and some sections of wall, the Church said.

Thieves often target churches in rural Russia. Religious icons can be sold and church structures sold off for building materials.

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