Feodorovsky Gorodok to Become the Official
Residence of Patriarch Kirill at Tsarskoe Selo

Photos © Paul Gilbert

The Feodorovsky Gorodok (Town) in Tsarskoe Selo is to become the official residence
of the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church while he is visiting St. Petersburg

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It has been announced in the Russian media that Kirill I, Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus'is to make the Feodorovsky Gorodok his official residence while he is visiting St. Petersburg and the surrounding area. The Feodorovsky Gorodok is situated near the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo (now Pushkin).

The idea to make the Feodorovsky Gorodok the official residence of the Patriarch goes back in 1994, when the former Patriarch Alexy II gave his blessing to the project. For this purpose, the decision was made to renovate and restore the Feodorovsky Gorodok which includes numerous buildings.

In May 2009, during his visit to Tsarskoye Selo Patriarch Kirill personally inspected the Feodorovsky Gorodok. He also gave the project his blessing, but the decision has only been made official this past week.

Restoration of the Gorodok began slowly in the late 1990s and parts of the campus buildings are already in use. Sadly, much of the complex still remain in ruins. The St. Petersburg architectural studio "ASM" have been commissioned to carry out the extensive restoration works. The plans have been prepared; however, the money for its realization has yet to be identified. It is hoped that once funding has been finalized that restoration work will begin immediately.

The Feodorovsky Gorodok was constructed between 1913-1917 in the Neo-Russian style on the initiative of Emperor Nicholas II. The Gorodok comprised a series of buildings of different heights and shapes, all of which were linked by covered walkways and porches. The White-Stone Chamber was intended for the priests of the cathedral, the Pink Chamber for deacons, the Yellow Chamber for junior deacons; the Refectory (1913-1917, architect S.S. Krichinsky),with the warden’s apartment, for the cathedral warden Colonel D.N. Loman; the White Chamber for senior attendants. There was also a building for junior attendants, a bathhouse and a laundry. The complex of buildings was surrounded by a fortress wall with pointed-topped towers and massive gates embellished with fanciful stone carvings. The buildings of the Gorodok served the nearby Feodorovsky Cathedral. The cathedral consisted of two churches one above the other. The lower church contained the private prayer chapels of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.

In the course of Feodorovsky Gorodok construction, the Society of the Artistic Rus Renaissance (1915 - October of 1917) was established, its meetings took place in the Refectory Chamber (chairman Count A.A. Shirinsky-Shikhmatov, members: artists A.M.Vasnetsov and V.M. Vasnetsov, I.Y. Bilibin, M.V. Nesterov and others).

When the First World War broke out, military hospital No.17 was arranged in the Feodorovsky Gorodok. It was under the patronage of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and her daughters. In 1918, the complex was handed over to the Agronomical Institute. During the Second World War, it was ravaged and partially destroyed in the years of German occupation (1941-1944).

The decision to establish the Feodorovsky Gorodok as the official residence of the Patriarch in St. Petersburg is indeed wonderful news. It means that great care will be taken to restore one of the most beautiful and historic sites associated with the last Russian Emperor and his family, as well as that of the Russian Orthodox Church in the town.

All of the photographs on this page were taken by Paul Gilbert, Royal Russia Web Site Administrator.

Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia
25 October, 2010