Russians in Switzerland

The St. Barbara Church in Vevey (canton of Vaud) is a Russian Orthodox parish, which is part of the history of the Russian Orthodox Church in Switzerland from 1816.

The first Russian Orthodox parish in Switzerland was established in Bern on 24 December 1816. Tsar Alexander I (1777-1825) had commissioned the building and consecration.

The Tsar maintained good relations with the young Confederation of 22 cantons and was also one of its most important advocates at the Congress of Vienna in 1814/1815.

One of his most valued advisers was the Swiss Frédéric-César de La Harpe (1754-1838). In November 1854 the parish was moved to Geneva, where a new Orthodox church was consecrated in 1866.

From the second half of the 19th century onwards, many Russian aristocrats, artists, students and revolutionaries resided in Switzerland and around Lake Geneva in particular, and more and more Orthodox churches were established in the country.

The development of tourism and health resorts also attracted a rich clientele. It was after the death of one of his daughters, Barbara, in the town of Tour de Peilz, near Vevey, that Count Pyotr (Peter) Shuvalov (1827-1889) requested and received permission to build a church in Vevey in memory of his daughter Barbara.

He financed this church, which was consecrated on October 13, 1878. (Source and more information about the Orthodox Church in Switzerland: