St. Catherine Church on Vasilievsky Island
The monumental dome of St. Catherine’s Church on Vasilyevsky Island immediately took the leading position among the city’s riverside architectural dominants. The temple was constructed in 1811 — 1823 to the design of the architect A. A. Mikhaylov. The central facade of the church was firstly decorated with a portico. Unfortunately, the portico had to be destroyed because the bell-tower was erected by the architect A. M. Bolotov in 1863.
The church was designed by the architect Andrey Mikhailov the Second (his elder brother, Alexander A. Mikhailov, was known and Mikhailov the First). Andrei Mikhailov graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts with a gold medal, later became a professor of architecture, and was known for publishing free books on architecture and painting. However, in the 30-ies of the XIX century, the architect was dismissed. Nicholas I failed to appreciate Mikhailov’s service. Having visited the final exams at the Academy, the emperor was unhappy with the quality of graduates' knowledge and sacked many teachers, including Andrey Mikhailov.
But Mikhailov was a talented architect working in the style of strict classicism. According to his design, the Church of St Catherine (in plan based on the Greek cross) – intentionally stands back from the street. With a powerful dome on a drum, surrounded by columns, the temple can be seen from afar.
And on the dome, on the ball - there was a wooden angel, covered with lead, and holding a gilded cross. But the wind and the rain did not spare the angel over the church of St. Catherine - it was removed for restoration. Now the Angel is recreated and took it guard over the city.