The First St Isaac's Church
The existing St Isaacs Cathedral is the fourth church to be constructed in this area. All of them were dedicated to St Isaac the Dalmatian, the legendary Byzantine monk, also known as St Isaac of Constantinople, and called Dalmatian from the name later given to the monastery which he had founded. The construction of each of the four churches was closely related to the history of the city and reflected the different architectural, artistic, and town-planning trends of the periods in which they were built.
The First St Isaacs Cathedral
When Peter the Great founded St Petersburg in 1703, he made a decision to erect in his new city a cathedral to St Isaac the Dalmatian, whose feast-day, May 30, coincided with Peter’s birthday. Seven years later, in 1710, a small wooden church was built on the Admiralty Green near the site of the present-day Cathedral. On February 19, 1712, Peter the Great and Catherine had their public wedding here (they had been married privately several years before). This building, unassuming as it was in design and decoration, was felt to be out of keeping with the grand scale on which the new capital of Russia was being constructed.
On August 6, 1717, on the bank of the Neva where the Bronze Horseman, a monument to Peter the Great, now stands, the foundations were laid for a second church of St Isaac.