Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, St. Petersburg - Russia

Alena tagged me twice in the last weeks on the favorites tags and one of the card she sent is this lovely snowy view of the Resurrection of Christ Cathedral in St. Petersburg. 

"This church is known to Petersburgers as the Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood - or even just the Church on the Blood - as it marks the spot where Alexander II was fatally wounded in an assassination attempt on March 1, 1881. Immediately, his heir, Alexander III, declared his intention to erect a church on the site in his father's memory, and moreover to have this church built in "traditional Russian" style - in distinction to what he saw as the contaminating Western influence of Petersburg. Construction began in 1883.

No baptisms, funeral services, weddings, or other traditional church services were held in the Church on the Blood, as this was not in Alexander III's plans. However, weekly requiems (for Alexander II) and sermon readings attracted large numbers of worshippers.
After the Revolution, the church - despite becoming an official cathedral in 1923 - was looted. It was closed in 1932, and essentially turned into a garbage dump. Rumors abounded that the church would be torn down. Damage from World War II and the Siege of Leningrad can still be seen on the church's walls.
After World War II, the church was used as a warehouse for the Small Opera Theatre. The valuable shrine was almost completely destroyed. Four jasper columns with mosaic mountings in them, and a part of the balustrade were all that remained. On July 20, 1970 the church was made a branch of the St. Isaac's Cathedral museum, and eighty percent of the church's extraordinary restoration was funded by profits from St. Isaac's. The decades of deterioration and then restoration culminated in the dramatic re-opening of the church in August 1997, when thousands of eager visitors swamped the church." - in: http://www.saint-petersburg.com/cathedrals/Resurrection-Church.asp

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