Get to know Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg

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You can meet Russia through its museums, its historic buildings; of its landscapes, but it is also interesting to know and visit its religious buildings.

Religion is an important part in the lives of many people around the world; and know the monuments and buildings that are built to honor their beliefs and their Faith; It allows us to internalize ourselves in a part of the culture.

In Russia the great religions coexist, and Orthodox Christianity is represented through beautiful and imposing Churches.

One of them is the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan, in St. Petersburg. The huge building is dedicated to the Virgin of Kazan, the most revered Christian symbol of the city and of Russia.

Tour in Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg – history

Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan was built between 1801 and 1811 by the architect Andréi Voronijin following the model of the Basilica of St. Peter, in Rome.

Neoclassical style, one of its most striking architectural features is its colonnade composed of 96 pillars.

Although it is not the only temple dedicated to the Virgin of Kazan, it is the most important, and for this reason every year it is visited by thousands of tourists.

The history of the building, which had its ups and downs, can be summarized as follows: the monument to the victory of the Patriotic War of 1812 was made. Between 1812 and 1814, the flags of the defeated French regiments were brought there. One year after the culmination of the war; The famous Marshal Mikhail Kutuzzov was buried in the Kazan Cathedral. In 1917, the period of persecution of the Church began, and the Cathedral was closed by Stalin. In 1932, it was opened but transformed into the Museum of Religion and Atheism. Religious offices in the Kazan Cathedral were held again in 1991.

For all these reasons, its history, its beauty, its architecture and its spiritual meaning, the Kazan Cathedral is an interesting visit for others during their trip to St. Petersburg.

The Azan Cathedral was built in St. Petersburg in 1811. It became a true decoration of Nevsky Prospect and for almost half a century it was the largest church in St. Petersburg. We present 10 interesting facts about the Kazan Cathedral.

Paul, I planned to build a new Kazan Cathedral on the site of the ancient Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The emperor organized a project competition, attended by architects Pietro Gonzago, Charles Cameron and Jean Francois Toma de Tomon. Pavel I already approved Cameron’s work when Count Stroganov recommended me a project by the young architect Andrei Voronikhin, who did not participate in the contest. The emperor liked his job. Voronikhin was appointed chief architect, and Stroganova – chairman of the board of directors during the construction of the cathedral.

Rome, Florence, Petersburg

Paul: I wanted the new building to look like the Roman cathedral of San Pedro. Andrei Voronikhin designed a great colonnade that resonated with the design of the Italian temple. 96 columns of the Kazan Cathedral were not located around the perimeter, they opened wide to meet Nevsky Prospect. The north side side of the temple became the main gate. According to Voronikhin’s plan, the colonnade should have been erected on the south side of the temple, but later this idea was abandoned.

The north door of the cathedral was cast in bronze in the model of the “heavenly doors” of the Florentine Baptistery: the original was created in the fifteenth century by sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti. Contemporaries criticized Voronikhin for architectural loans and even called him “copyist.”

Russian natural stone museum

Kazan Cathedral is called the Russian natural stone museum. The main decorative material was the calcareous tuff, which was extracted in the Gatchina region. The Pudost stone, as it is called, looked like an Italian travertine, from which St. Peter’s Cathedral was built. The puff with a porous structure was easily processed; It was used to cover the exterior walls of the cathedral, creating capitals, friezes and platforms. Voronikhin used Karelian marble, local porphyry and jasper in the interior decoration of the temple. The interior of the cathedral was decorated with 56 columns of pink granite with golden capitals.

Artists and sculptors

Both outside and inside, the Kazan Cathedral is decorated with sculptures and bas-reliefs. The bronze statues of saints Vladimir and Andrew the First-Called, John the Baptist and Alexander Nevsky were created by Stepan Pimenov, Ivan Martos and Vasily Demut-Malinovsky. Fedor Gordeev, Jacob Raschett, Ivan Prokofiev worked on the interior reliefs and facades.

The walls of the cathedral were decorated with paintings by famous painters: Karl Bryullov and Fedor Bruni, Vasily Shebuev and Vladimir Borovikovsky. The original iconostasis in 1837 was replaced by silver: it was created by architect Konstantin Ton. Not only eminent teachers worked on the construction of the cathedral: in 1810 they bought a Taras Ivanov servant from a Teplov landowner for a thousand rubles.

Museum of the Temple of the Patriotic War of 1812

The Kazan Cathedral was inaugurated a year before the Patriotic War of 1812. Before leaving for the army, the church service was visited by Mikhail Kutuzov, who had just been appointed commander in chief. After the war, trophies were delivered to the Kazan Cathedral: banners and military banners, the keys to the cities and fortresses taken, the rod of the marshal of the French commander Louis-Nicolas Davout.

In 1813, Mikhail Kutuzov, who died of a cold, was buried in the church. The trellis and the tombstone of his grave were made according to Andrey Voronikhin’s drawings.

In 1837, Russia celebrated the 25th anniversary of the victory over Napoleon. Monuments to the quarterbacks of World War II: Mikhail Kutuzov and Mikhail Barclay de Tolly were erected in the square in front of the cathedral.

The temple of the Romanov dynasty.

The Church of the Nativity of the Virgin was the court church of the Romanov dynasty. Here a list of the icon of the Mother of God of Kazan was maintained: she was considered the patron of the dynasty. When the Kazan Cathedral was built, he inherited both the sanctuary and the role of the court temple. All members of the royal family got married here, thanksgiving services were served here after the failed assassination attempts of Alexander II, the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty was celebrated.

The gifts of the imperial family were kept in the sacristy of the cathedral: the gospel in a golden silver frame, weighing more than 33 kilograms, a lapis lazuli cross, a gold bowl decorated with diamonds, rubies and mammoth bone .

Main sanctuary of the cathedral

The temple was consecrated in honor of the Kazan icon of the Mother of God, one of the most famous Orthodox sanctuaries. The cathedral contains its list, which is also considered miraculous. It is believed that Peter I personally ordered that the sanctuary be delivered to St. Petersburg, and before the construction of the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin, the icon was stored in a chapel on the Petrograd side.

After the Patriotic War of 1812, Mikhail Kutuzov returned to Russia hundreds of kilograms of silver items that the French in withdrawal took from Russian churches. Part of this silver was transferred to the Kazan Cathedral. It was used to decorate the icon box of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God and the iconostasis of the main hall.

Charity center

In the 19th century, a Sunday school for adults worked in the Kazan Cathedral, its own newspaper was published, the temple was a famous charity center. During World War I, warm food and clothing were collected to be sent to the front; One of the first hospitals in Russia was opened with parish money and church funds. He was under the auspices of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. A prayer service was given daily in the temple itself to grant victory over the enemy.

Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism.

In 1932, Kazan Cathedral was closed. Instead of a cross, a golden ball with a needle was installed in the dome of the church; Church utensils were distributed among the city’s museums. Inside the cathedral is the Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism. His presentation spoke about the emergence and development of Christianity, Islam and Eastern beliefs. Here you can see a collection of 17th-20th century orthodox icons, amulets and amulets, ritual objects and the largest collection of books on the history of religion and religious studies.

Relics in the attic

For almost 20 years, the relics of the saints, which were stored in the church, have been hidden in the attic of the Kazan Cathedral. The staff of the Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism transferred the relics of the Prince of the Holy Right Alexander Nevsky, Saints Zosima, Savatius and German Solovetsky, Saint Seraphim of Sarov, Saint Joasaf of Belgorod. Only in 1991 the sanctuaries were returned to the temple, and the relics of St. Joasaph were sent first to Moscow and then to Belgorod.

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