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Fact-Check: Does This Video Show 'Church Being Converted Into Temple' in Europe?

We found that the video shows a temple being recently inaugurated in Elmira, New York, United States.

4 min read
Fact-Check: Does This Video Show 'Church Being Converted Into Temple' in Europe?
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A video which shows the inauguration of a temple is being shared on social media platforms as an incident from Europe. Some users also claimed that the temple was established by taking over a vacant church.

(Swipe right to view all claims.)

  • <div class="paragraphs"><p>An archive of the post can be found <a href="" rel="nofollow">here</a>.</p></div>

    An archive of the post can be found here.

    (Source: X (formerly Twitter)/Screenshot)

  • <div class="paragraphs"><p>An archive of the post can be found <a href="" rel="nofollow">here</a>.</p></div>

    An archive of the post can be found here.

    (Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

We received a query about the viral video on our WhatsApp tipline.

(More archives of similar claims can be found here, here, and here.)

Are these claims true?: The video is from Elmira, United States, and shows the inauguration of the Paranitya Narasimha temple.

  • According to reports, the parish officially closed Our Lady of Lourdes and another church in November 2021.

  • Both the churches reportedly required extensive repairs, which went beyond the budget of the parish and were later relegated.

  • Our Lady of Lourdes church was later sold to the Bhakti Marga.


How did we find that out?: A Google Lens search on the keyframes on the video led us to the same video uploaded on a Instagram page named 'Paramahamsa Sri Swami Vishwananda'.

  • The video was uploaded on 1 September.

  • Its caption mentioned, "Love, Joy & Enthusiasm: Auspicious Temple Inauguration in Elmira - Day 1. Impressions from epic first day of the Paranitya Narasimha temple inauguration!"

  • We found Bhakti Marga's website which said that the temple would be inaugurated. It also carried details of all the rituals and ceremonies that were going to take place for four days i.e., from 31 August to 3 September.

It said that the long awaited opening of the temple was finally going to take place.

(Source: Bhakti Marga website/Screenshot)

  • Further, we came across a YouTube video uploaded in January 2022 on a channel named 'Bhakti Marga America' which showed a person speaking about the temple.

  • The person identified himself as Swami Tulsidas and said that the ashram and temple would be in Elmira, New York.

  • He further said, "This ashram is or was a church dedicated to the memory of Mother Mary of the Lourdes and it was a convent for some nuns. So, it's beautiful that we'll be able to build upon the spirituality, love, and grace that was already there."

  • He said that the organisation will honour the past and keep the stained glass window. The Catholic Church also allowed Bhakti Marg to keep the main Mother Mary, who will be placed with Goddess Kali in the residence wing.

  • The description of the video mentioned said that the ashram would be the home of Paranitya Narasimha.

What happened to the church?: According to a report in Catholic Courier, Our Lady of Lourdes and another church were closed down in November 2021 after a decree of relegation was issued.

  • The decree was issued following consultation with the Diocese of Rochester’s Presbyteral Council. It was based on recommendations made in the spring by its finance and parish councils.

After relegation the church can be no longer used for Catholic worship and can be put for sale.

(Source: Catholic Courier website/Screenshot)

  • The church and the convent were then put for sale.

  • It further said that the churches were closed down because they required "extensive repairs beyond what the parish can currently afford."

  • A different report added that the churches were closed due to declining revenue and attendance.

Church sold to Bhakti Marga: Further, we came across a report published in The Pillar which said that the closed church was sold to the Bhakti Marga Hindu movement in January 2022.

  • This was going to be the first temple of the organisation in the US. It said that the church would be used for Hindu worship following the renovation.

  • We have also reached out to the organisation for their inputs and the story will be updated as and when they are received.

Geolocating the place: We searched for "Bhakti Marga Paranitya Narasimha Temple" on Google Maps and were able to locate the temple using the street view option.

  • The available view was from May.

Conclusion: It is clear that the viral claim is false. The temple was inaugurated in Elmira, New York after the church was sold.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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Topics:  Europe    United States   Fact Check 

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