Smolensky Lutheran Cemetery

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The Smolenskoye Cemetery (in German Smolensker Friedhof) is a Lutheran cemetery on Dekabristov Island in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It is one of the largest and oldest non-orthodox cemeteries in the city. Until the early 20th century it was one of the main burial grounds for ethnic Germans.


The Lutheran cemetery on Dekabristov Island is known to have existed in 1747. The Smolenka River divides it from the Smolensky Orthodox Cemetery on Vasilievsky Island. This cemetery contained the burials of the parishioners of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saint Katarina and the Catholic Church of St. Catherine, including Leonhard Euler, Xavier de Maistre, Germain Henri Hess, José de Ribas, Moritz von Jacobi, Agustín de Betancourt, Jean-François Thomas de Thomon, Ludvig Nobel, Fyodor Nikolajewitsch Litke, Georg Friedrich Parrot, Karl Nesselrode, Vladimir Lamsdorf and Vasily Radlov.

Some tombstones of notable people were transferred to the necropolis of famous people at Alexander Nevsky Lavra. Among them are Thomas de Thomon (relocated in the 1930s), Euler (1956), Betancourt (1979), and others.

In the last perestroika years of the Soviet Union two parts of the cemetery were destroyed. The first was a large section in the far north west corner of the cemetery which was entirely flattened to make way for a building for a local fire department in 1985. The second was a small section at the entrance which was replaced with a petrol station in the early 1990s.

Index of burials[edit]

The person who has done the most work in investigating the current status of the cemetery is Robert Leinonen, a longtime resident of Saint Petersburg who moved to Germany in 1991.

Between 1988 and 1991, Leinonen went on countless personal visits to the cemetery itself and compiled an inventory of all those graves that are still standing today, copying the exact writing on each headstone. He has published a two-volume book on the cemetery detailing its history. The second volume contains an index of all those buried there whose graves are still standing today.

The publications are used by genealogists for family research in pre-revolutionary Russia and the early Soviet period when vital records are missing or prove difficult to find. Historians use them to research the social histories of the city.


  • Deutsche in St. Petersburg: ein Blick auf den deutschen evangelisch-lutherischen Smolenski-Friedhof und in die europäische Kulturgeschichte, 1998, Robert Leinonen & Erika Voigt, ISBN 3-932267-04-4 (Volume 1) and ISBN 3-932267-14-1 (Volume 2)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 59°57′00″N 30°15′14″E / 59.95°N 30.254°E / 59.95; 30.254