Senate and Holy Synod
The Senate was the supreme court in Imperial Russia; the Holy Synod was the governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1829, Carlo Rossi was asked to design a structure worthy of these two great institutions. These buildings turned out to be the last major creation of Rossi, an architect of outstanding talent.
The architect was faced with a difficult task, for the existing Senate Square was already occupied by Falconet’s statue of Peter the Great, the Admiralty, Manege, Prince Lobanov-Rostovsky Palace and the still unfinished St Isaac’s Cathedral. The Senate and the Holy Synod were completed in 1834. Rossi joined the two independent building, decorated with loggias and numerous marble figures, with a triumphal arc built over the Galernaya Street and decorated with allegorical sculptures, symbolizing the union of secular and non-secular power in Russia.
The proportions and sectional divisions of the two buildings were fitted by Rossi to harmonize with the proportions of the side facade of the Admiralty, finished a little earlier and facing the opposite side of the square.
Occupied with other projects, Rossi was unable to supervise this construction personally, and another architect (A. Staubert) had to be appointed to finish the job.
The project suffered even more damage from the inteference of Nicholas I and the holy fathers from the Synod who demanded that many of the decorations be changed. The architect's original design was therefore tampered with and as the result the parts of the two buildings adjoining the arch were overloaded with ornaments.
On the whole, however, the Senate and the Synod completed the ensemble of the square quite happily.