Today I cycled over to the little chapel and overgrown garden tucked away in a corner of the Olympia Park. It was hard to find, although I've been there several times. Today there was a festival next to the gates to this little garden, I could hardly imagine that there would still be access. But there it was, the little buildings and unruly garden of Father Timofei. Here is the legend of Father Timofei and his church as I have pieced together from the Internet:
Father Timofei was born in 1894 in Bagayevskaya on the Don. In the Second World War, he transported coal in the German-occupied Russian city of Schachty. During the retreat of the German Wehrmacht, fleeing from the advancing Red Army, he was forced to help the enemy escape and transport them with his horse-drawn cart. Only at Rostov, in southern Russia, 46 kilometers from the mouth of the Don in the Black Sea, was he freed. Father Timofei later reported that he had his first vision of the Virgin Mary here, telling him to build a church dedicated to peace between East and West.
After many years as a vagabond, he reached Vienna and met his future wife Natascha. The construction of a church in Vienna failed because of the local authorities. The two moved on to Munich, where they arrived in 1952. They settled down on Oberwiesenfeld, on the edge of the former airfield which later became the Olympic Park. Here the Mother of God again appeared and advised him to build a Russian church on these grounds, then a field of rubble from bombed Munich. Timofei did as he was told and built church and house. Although his buidlings were unauthorized, there was ample rubble as building material on the Oberwiesenfeld. Rubble as far as the eye could reach, and he built. He built the towers of his church from old oil barrels. Inside, he lined the ceiling with the silver foil collected from the wrappings of chocolate bars. And he created a garden of Eden, about a hundred by a hundred meters, planted with bushes, vegetables and flowers.
No one took offense at the buildings and their inhabitants. But at the end of the 1960s, there were plans to build for for the upcoming Olympic Games on these grounds where Timofei's church and house stood. Protests hailed from Munich's residents. Lord Mayor Hans-Jochen Vogel and Willi Daume, President of the National Olympic Committee for Germany, then found that Father Timofei could not be driven away and the plans were changed. The Olympic games made room for Father Timofei.
At the almost Biblical age of 107 years, Father Timofei had to move to a nursing home where he died at the age of 110.