Odesa, St. Paul Lutheran Church, 1824-1835

As the architect of the city of Odesa, Francesco Boffa was commissioned in 1824 to build a church for the then booming Lutheran community. The plot is defined by today’s Novoselskoho, Lyuteranskyi, Kuznechna and Topolskoho streets. Boffa chose to place the church on the axis of today’s Dvoryanska Street, making it the visual landmark of the neighbourhood, with its hexastyle portico of Corinthian order surmounted by the spire of the bell tower. Boffa seems to have taken this scheme from the church of Saint-Martin-in-the-Fields by James Gibbs (1682-1754), consecrated in 1726 in London, interpreting it, however, in a much more modest manner and with a strongly paratactic syntax. The construction work was marked by major problems, and it is perhaps also for this reason that the building was completed by Giorgio Torricelli and Giovanni Battista Frapolli.
In the early 1890s, the poor state of preservation and the further expansion of the believers’ community led to the demolition of Boffa’s building and the construction of a new church (1895-1897) according to the design of architect Hermann-Karl Scheurembrandt (originally from Stuttgart, Wurttemberg), who had won the competition organised for the occasion, thanks to his Romanesque-inspired vocabulary.

Author: Guillaume Nicoud
Version dated: 03.07.2022

Francesco Boffa, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Odessa, 1824-1835, photography ante 1895 ( Private collection)