Fathet Timofei came from the Ukraine to Germany after the war. As legend goes, and perhaps it's true, after an arduous journey on foot he arrived in Munich and slept under a bridge on the Isar River. That night the Virgin Mary appeared to him and told him to build a church here to unite east and west. He was accompanied by Natasha, his helper.
Timofei started to build a church on bombed grounds and used what debris from war-ravaged Munich he could find for the construction. All went well, he built a church and a little house for himself and Natasha. They managed to get along without electricity and running water.
However in 1970 plans were being made for the Olympic Games. The stadiums for the events were to be built on the grounds where Father Timofei and Natasha were living. It was soon discovered that Father Timofei had no papers, no passport, no rights to the property, no building permit. No one had even asked him for a proof of identity since he left the Ukraine in 1945.
Quite unexpected from German bureaucracy, a miracle in itself, Father Timofei's house and church, in the meantime surrounded by apple trees, were allowed to remain untouched, while the Olympic Park was built next door. The little garden and church and house are still there today. Father Timofei passed away in 2004 at the age of 110, Munich's oldest citizen.
What do you do when the sky is grey, it's cold and spring isn't in sight? You go out anyway. At least today we did. To get some exercise we walked across downtown Munich to the Old South Cemetery. The cemetery, established in 1563 for victims of the plague, was located outside the city gates. From 1788 to 1867 it was the single collective burial ground for the dead of the city which is why it contains the graves of several prominent Munich citizens of that period. Today it's popular for people who want to take a walk out of earshot of city traffic and is protected as a site of historical interest. No one has been buried there for the past 70 years.