Kronstadt Naval Cathedral
Kronstadt Naval Cathedral is a unique monument to the history of the Russian fleet – it is a Russian Orthodox Church dedicated to all fallen seamen. The cathedral was built by order of Emperor Nicholas II in 1903 in honor of the 200th anniversary of the Russian fleet. The new church, which became the best architectural ornament of Kronstadt, was financed both by the state and private donations. The cathedral is located in the heart of the historic city of Kronstadt, in the former Kronstadt fortress - Anchor Square.
“Kronstadt - a strong sea fortress and port of Russia, situated on the island of Kotlin, in the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland, 31 miles west of St. Petersburg”
Build Magazine, 19th century
Since at least 1830, high ranking officers of the Russian Navy routinely submitted proposals for building a stone church for the Navy in Kronstadt. However, their pleas went unanswered until 1897, when a request submitted by the Vice-Admiral N. Kaznakov finally caught attention and received support of the Russian Emperor Nicholas II. In 1897, a Committee was set up with the goal of organizing a competition for the best design for the cathedral. The requirements stipulated the height of the dome of the cathedral: it must be of such height as to be appropriate to function as a sort of lighthouse guide for sailors, and the cross should be clearly distinguishable from a distance.
In 1900, the design for Naval Cathedral submitted by the civil engineer Vasily Antonovich Kosyakov was approved by the Emperor.
On October 27, 1901 the rector of St. Andrew's Cathedral John of Kronstadt led a prayer service at the site of construction of the temple in the presence of the chief commander of the port, Admiral Makarov, and many townspeople.
On May 8, 1903, in the presence of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Maria Fedorovna and Alexandra Feodorovna, the laying of the first brick walls of the cathedral was celebrated.
The cathedral was built as a monument to "Navy sailors, who died in the line of duty, as well as to promote the development and celebrate the glory of the fleet." Initially, it was decided to perpetuate the memory of sailors on alaque-tables. The list includes about 1,000 names. The names of those killed in battle were placed on the board in the war, and died in the shipwreck and the line of duty were recorded on board the seas.
The Grand Naval Cathedral is one of the best examples of the neo-Byzantine style. Its solemn consecration took place on June 10, 1913. The consecration was performed in the presence of Emperor Nicholas II, his daughters, the chairman of the State Duma, the highest ranking officers and of the Navy and many ordinary people.
The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was the inspiration for the architect Kosyakov. The temple can accommodate up to 6,000 worshipers at a time. It is the second largest cathedral in Russia, after the Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Savior Church. The finishing of the building is very rich: the facades are faced with granite and glazed brick, decorated with mosaic icons, and majolica friezes.
The main, west facade of the cathedral underlined impressive portal and two strongly protruding lateral projections, finishes turrets, belfries. The north and south facades are decorated with high arches and round windows, stained-glass windows.
In the composition of the building is very harmonious system includes large and small semi-domes on the east and west facades. The main copper dome and dome belfries entwined relief ornament of the anchors and lifebuoys. Cross on the dome of the temple also has maritime theme: he seems to be merged with the wheel the wheel.
Temple - three-altar. The central chapel was dedicated to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, right - in the name of St John of Rila (in honor of the patron saint of St. John of Kronstadt, who did not live up to the consecration of the temple they pledged), the left - in honor of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.
Walls and vaults below the church and the choir are covered with paintings, which simulates multi-colored mosaics and frescoes. Bunk arches are decorated with rich ornamentation. Painted by the artist MM Vasiliev. As conceived by the builders at the top of the temple depicted the sky, and below - the sea. Therefore, on the floor of the marble-lined thin copper rim lined with images of fish, jellyfish, sea plants, boat. The iconostasis of white marble with mosaic and bronze accents and surprisingly fine openwork carving (sculptor NA Popov) was very handsome.
Byzantine style was born in the mural and icon painting, and in the design of church utensils. Eaves, canopy and stylish Greek Horos were illuminated with five thousand light bulbs. The walls were covered with marble panels with a commemorative plaque on which were engraved the names of naval officers who have fallen in battle and in office since 1695 to the current time (in 1929 they were destroyed).
The building was equipped with the latest technology of the time. There was a stationary vacuum cleaning station, parts and appliances, heating, ventilation, electrical equipment. Cathedral had an autonomous central heating system. In the basement, there were three main transformer oil, which acted on underground cables current frequency of 50 Hz and voltage 2000. Complex and original for its time lighting system perfectly complements the splendor of interior decoration and produced a great impression on the congregation.
In 1913, the front of the cathedral is a monument to Admiral Makarov.
The hotel is a great size and Naval Cathedral immediately became an integral part of the panorama of Kronstadt, leading the dominant western part of the Neva Bay.
As Memorial Church Cathedral Russian Navy lasted only 4 years. In 1918, he was "nationalized" by the Bolsheviks and remained in use as a congregation rented building.
By the summer of 1929 the city authorities Kronstadt decided to close the cathedral and the device in it the House of Culture and the city theater. The temple was closed and ruined, the building suffered considerable damage.
In the 1990s began the process of preparing for the return of the cathedral's former status of the Naval Cathedral in Russia. In 1998, an employee of the Company "Radonezh" EV Isakova was completed to restore the appearance of the text and plaques. In 2002, the church was transferred to the Church.
October 31, 2002 on the main dome of the cathedral was erected seven-gilded cross weighing about two tons, and on November 25, Metropolitan of St. Petersburg and Ladoga Vladimir made in the temple of thanksgiving and renewed it in regular worship.