Ivan Schtelkunov

Russian orthodox priest, translator and author

The Russian priest in Copenhagen, Father Ivan Schtelkunov (1870-1966) inaugurated the humanitarian camp at Horserød in 1917. He became a regular guest. Here he saw to the many sick and wounded soldiers and took care of funerals. When the camp actually got its very own orthodoks church, he said mass there every second sunday. Here he is, easily recognisable by his long beard and black clothes. (Top illustration: © Europeana Collection, Creative Commons

In 1911, the orthodox priest Schtelkunov had been appointed priest to the Aleksander Nevsky church in Copenhagen. After his many visits to the Horserød Camp and his many meetings with his fellow Russians, he actually one day – and to the great consternation of his parish, said a prayer for the Bolsheviks during sermon. A few days after that, he found a message on the church altar, warning him, that if he, Schtelkunov, showed up in the church again, he would be killed. So Schtelkunov decided to resign his service and was dismissed. He then moved to the Danish island Bornholm, where he began teaching Russian and translating books from Russian into Danish, notably classic litterature, and even Tolstoys´Anna Karenina. He was the author of many history books and his dictionary on the Russia language is still being used today. When the island of Bornholm was occupied by Soviet troops in 1945-46, they used Schtelkunov as interpreter. His memoirs of his childhood and youth in the prerevolutionary days was published in Copenhagen in 1926 under the title “50 Aar under Gyldne Kupler” (Fifty years under Golden Domes). They also have a chapter describing his journey to Russia in 1918, a chapter on his work at the Horserød prisoner-of-war Camp and chapters of his childhood as the son of the Russian Priest at the Imperial Legation in Copenhagen and his subsequent many meetings with the Imperial couple, Alexander and Maria Feodorovna on their frequent visits to Copenhagen.