Topic: A Russian Moment
The newly recreated Holy or Royal Gates lead into the Sanctuary which houses the main altar the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg
The beauty of the interiors of the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg never fail to take my breath away. Officially known as the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, it is a Russian Orthodox church built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated on March 13, 1881 by a bomb while travelling along the Griboedov Canal (the reference to Spilled Blood is to that of Tsar Alexander II's).
Construction was started in 1883 and completed in 1907 during the reign of Tsar Nicholas II. During the Russian Revolution of 1917, the interior of the church was badly damaged and it was closed in the 1930s when the Bolsheviks were destroying churches all over Russia. During the siege of Leningrad the church was used as a storage site for corpses. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables and got the nickname of Church of the Saviour on Potatoes.
In 1970, management of the church was turned over to St. Isaac's Cathedral, operating as a profitable museum. Money from the museum was used to restore the church and it was reopened in August 1997 after 27 years of restoration work at a cost of 4.6 million Roubles. The interiors are decorated with over 7500 square metres of mosaics—according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood now functions primarily as a museum, but occasional services are held there. The first liturgy in more than 70 years was held on 23 May 2004, by Metropolitan of St. Petersburg Vladimir (Kotlyarov).
In 2005 work began on a new project for the recreation of the Holy (or Royal) Gates (permanently lost in the 1920s during the Soviet period). Entirely produced with enamels and based on the pictures and lithographies of the time, the new Holy Gates have been designed by V. J. Nikolsky and S. G. Kochetova, while famous enamel artist L. Solomnikova and her atelier have been assigned the task to produce the Holy Gates, whose reconsecration has been celebrated by Orthodos bishop Amvrosij of Gatchina on 14 March 2012, the 129th anniversary of Alexander II's assassination.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 04 May, 2014