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Sunday, 7 April 2013
Beautiful Orthodox Churches of Russia No. 6
Topic: Beautiful Orthodox Churches

 

The Trinity Izmailovsky Cathedral sometimes called the Troitsky Cathedral, in Saint Petersburg, Russia, is a late example of the Empire style, built between 1828 and 1835 to a design by Vasily Stasov.

According to the Russian tradition, each regiment of the imperial guards had its own cathedral. The Trinity Cathedral was the regimental church of the Izmailovsky regiment of Imperial guards, one of the oldest guards regiments in the Russian Army. Named after the village of Izmailovo, near Moscow, the Izmailovsky regiment moved to Saint Petersburg when the city was established as the Russian capital under Empress Anna Ioannovna (1693-1740).

During the reign of Emperor Nicholas I construction of a new church (replacing a wooden church built in 1754-56 damaged during a flood in 1824) began in May 1828, and the cathedral was consecrated in May 1835. The cathedral rises to a height of more than 80 meters, and dominates the skyline of the surrounding area. Memorial plaques to regimental officers killed in battle were mounted on the cathedral's wall. After the cathedral's opening, flags, keys from forts and other trophies that the regiment won in campaigns in 1854–1855 and 1877–1878 were also housed in the cathedral.

Fire engulfs the historic Trinity Cathedral in 2006

The Trinity Cathedral was renowned for its collection of icons. The main section of the cathedral housed the Nativity icon, while the southern section housed the Jesus Christ icon. Empress Elizabeth presented the church with the Beginning of Life Trinity icon in 1742. Other holy objects housed in the cathedral included a large ark made in the form of a cross in 1753 from silver, a large silver cross presented to the cathedral by Nicholas I in 1835, and two large Gospels in valuable bindings.

In 1922, most of the cathedral's valuables were looted, and the thievery continued for several more years until the cathedral was finally closed in 1938. There were rumors of plans to demolish the cathedral and use the remaining material for a district workers' theatre. However, the cathedral was transferred to the Soviet Ministry of Telecommunications, for which it became a warehouse. Only in 1990 did the cathedral return to the hands of the Russian Orthodox Church, when restoration began. By that time, the interior was largely bare, compared to the splendor and majesty of its pre-Revolutionary past.

On August 25, 2006, while under reconstruction, a fire started in which the central dome collapsed and one of four smaller cupolas surrounding it was also destroyed, there were no reports of injuries.

Firefighters battled to save the other three cupolas as emergency workers employees removed icons and other religious articles. A helicopter dumped water on the historic structure. About four hours after the blaze broke out; one of the three remaining cupolas had been damaged but that the fire was contained.

The blaze apparently started on scaffolding on the outside of the church, which was undergoing restoration. The most valuable icons and other items had been saved, and that structural damage beneath the roof area was minor.

Many of the cathedral's beautiful historic interiors have been restored

St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko pledged to restore the cathedral within the shortest time possible, pledging to allocate 30 million rubles ($1.12 million) this year on preparations to rebuild and restore the cathedral to its pre-Revolutionary splendor. Restoration was completed, and the cathedral reopened, in 2010. The cathedral can accommodate up to 3,000 people and has been declared a World Heritage Site.

© Royal Russia. 07 April, 2013



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:15 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 6 April 2013 12:00 PM EDT
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