Holy Trinity – Izmailovsky Cathedral in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg’s Trinity Cathedral is one of St. Petersburg’s most monumental churches. Its bright blue domes, decorated with gilded stars, are visible at a distance of 20 kilometers from Troitskaya Square, where it is located.
The full name of this solemn church in the empire style is the Cathedral of the Holy Life-Giving Trinity of the Life Guards of the Izmailovsky Regiment. In common parlance it is usually called the Trinity Cathedral, the Trinity-Izmailovsky or simply the Izmailovsky Cathedral. The church was built as a regimental chapel for one of the oldest Russian regiments, founded in 1730 by Empress Anna Ioannovna – Izmailovsky, and thus it received its name.
The cathedral forms the compositional center of Trinity Square, on which, in addition to it, there is one more landmark – the Monument of Glory, consisting of 108 Turkish cannons, created by D. I. Grimm in honor of the victory in the Russian-Turkish War. The monument was lost during the Soviet era, but was rebuilt in 2005.
Timetable of services at the Trinity Cathedral in St. Petersburg 2022
The Trinity-Izmailovsky Cathedral is an active church where services, rites, and sacraments are performed daily. On the official website you can find the schedule of services for each day.
The Cathedral is open every day: on weekdays from 9:00 to 19:00 and on weekends and church holidays from 6:00 to 20:00.
Entrance to the temple is free.
Architect of the Trinity Cathedral of Izmailovo
Izmailovo Cathedral was built to a design by one of the fathers of the Russian Empire, Vasily Stasov. The talented architect, who came from a poor noble family, worked his way up from a simple draftsman to become an academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. As an adherent of late classicism, he created buildings marked by the severity of lines and the grandeur of the facade. A striking representative of this trend was the Trinity Cathedral.
Engineer Bazin worked together with Stasov over the temple. He had to correct errors of the venerable architect made in his calculations several times, and more than once he was placed in the guardhouse. Direct participation in the construction of the temple took Nicholas I, who personally approved all the projects and made adjustments to them.
Trinity cathedral was built on the initiative of Nicholas I in memory of the time when he commanded the Izmailovsky Regiment. Money for the construction came personally from the emperor. The cathedral replaced a wooden church which had been serving as a “domestic” church to the Izmailovsky Regiment since 1754. In 1824, during a great flood, the old church was flooded and fell into disrepair.
The construction began in May of 1828, on the Holy Trinity Day, and lasted 7 years. During the construction the creators of the cathedral had to solve many problems related to the complexity of the ground, as well as to the scale of the construction. At the time of the design the size of the temple was inferior only to St. Isaac’s Cathedral, and could accommodate up to 3,000 people. Such a large construction demanded serious engineering calculations, which were brilliantly solved by the authors. It is true that they did not do without mistakes and accidents.
During the construction phase, cracks appeared in the columns supporting the massive central dome. And the dome itself, a couple of months after the scaffolding had been removed, was blown away by a strong wind. In our time the big dome had another misfortune – a fire.
Consecrated in 1853, Izmaylovsky Cathedral until the 1930s served the parishioners – military and ordinary citizens. In 1867 Dostoevsky was married here, and in 1894 the composer A.Rubinstein was buried there.
After the revolution the cathedral was deprived of all its valuables that were expropriated for the needs of the new government. Services continued for some time, but in 1938, on Lenin’s birthday, the cathedral was closed and turned into an unheated warehouse. Fortunately, the authorities, under pressure from scholars, did not dare to carry out the original plan to demolish the majestic architectural monument or rebuild it into a crematorium. After suffering losses during the Great Patriotic War, the cathedral was returned to the faithful in St. Petersburg in 1990.
Immediately after the church’s return to the Russian Orthodox Church, repairs and renovations began, which lasted nearly three decades, until 2017. The restoration included restoring the interiors and decorations that were lost during the Soviet years, repairing structures that were in a state of disrepair, and draining a flooded basement that could be used for boating. Today the Trinity Cathedral is again one of the most impressive churches in St. Petersburg.
The snow-white Trinity-Izmailovsky Cathedral was built in the empire (or late classicism) style. Its architectural forms are the same as the old wooden temple of the Izmailovsky regiment that used to stand there. In plan the cathedral has the form of an equilateral cross, topped with a massive central dome. Four more domes are located along the axes of the cross, above the porticoes, which is unusual for the Orthodox tradition. All the four facades of the cathedral are decorated by six-column porticoes of Corinthian order, in niches of which the bronze sculptures of angels made by S. I. Galberg are placed. The porticoes are also decorated with sculptural friezes by I. Leppe.
Izmailovsky Cathedral is one of the highest orthodox temples. Its height is 80 meters. At the time of its consecration it was the largest in Russia. Today the cathedral is the eighth in Russia and the fourth in St. Petersburg (after St. Isaac and Smolny cathedrals and the Church of the Savior on the Blood).
Dome of the Trinity Cathedral
A striking feature of Trinity Cathedral are domes of rich blue color with gold stars, one large and four small ones, visible from afar. The construction of the huge central dome was a real challenge for the creators of the temple. Initially the author of the project was the architect of the cathedral – Stasov. However the dome which was constructed according to his calculations lasted only three months and was blown away by a strong wind that raged in St. Petersburg. To develop a new project was entrusted to Bazin.
His dome, which was the second largest wooden dome in Europe, lasted 170 years, survived the Second World War, but unfortunately was destroyed in a fire in 2006. The reconstructed dome structure has glulam beam ceilings at its base.
The famous color of the dome was obtained on the personal order of Nicholas I. Instead of green, as in the old wooden church, he ordered to paint them in blue and decorate them with gold stars in the image of the Archangel Cathedral in Moscow and the Tver Cathedral in Tver.
View of the Trinity Cathedral in St. Petersburg from above: panorama
The interior of Izmailovsky Cathedral is laconic and austere. Originally, its walls housed numerous military artifacts, which is explained by the status of the temple. Due to the predominance of white color in the interior, five light drums and huge windows inside there is a lot of light, which gives the cathedral solemnity and festivity.
The main elements of the interior are 24 Corinthian columns, which are used to organize the iconostasis, which has a curved shape and forms a single composition with the over-table canopy. The painting of the cathedral was made by a serf painter from Yaroslavl T. Medvedev and his son. The icons for the iconostasis were originally painted by venerable artists-academics, but later only part of their works was left. They were later joined by images made by the self-taught artist N. Maikov. Later the icons of T. Neff and D. Buzato which originally stood in the St. Isaac’s Cathedral were given to the cathedral. Some icons were passed to Trinity cathedral from the old temple.
As of today the main relic of the Holy Trinity Cathedral is the 1406 icon of the Holy Trinity given to the temple in 2003 with the personal participation of the President of Russia V. Putin. V. Putin. For the faithful are of interest the parts of relics of numerous saints and the Holy Cross kept in the cathedral.
In the basement of the temple today there is a hall “Slavic”, painted by artists from the workshop of Vladimir Kulikov. The main decoration of the room is the mosaic depicting the image of the Lord Almighty, made by masters Ekaterina Ogorodnikova.
Fire at Trinity Cathedral
On August 25, 2006, a major fire broke out in the Trinity Cathedral destroying the original 170-year-old central dome of Bazin. The fire began with scaffolding installed around it. The flames quickly spread to the attic rooms. As a result, the outer structures of the dome collapsed onto the inner brick vault, which fortunately did not collapse despite being badly heated. In addition to the main dome, the fire also damaged the four smaller ones, which by this time had been fully restored.
Immediately after the fire was extinguished, a fundraising drive was announced to rebuild the damaged cathedral. Already in the first two months more than 6 million rubles were collected from ordinary people and organizations. Benedict XVI, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, contributed his mite, donating 10 thousand euros to the St. Petersburg church.
Years later a fire in the legendary Notre Dame de Paris followed a similar scenario.
How to get to the Trinity Izmailovsky Cathedral in St. Petersburg
Izmailovsky Cathedral is located in the center of Trinity Square in the Admiralty district of St. Petersburg. You can reach the cathedral by subway, bus, trolley bus, shuttle and streetcar.
The nearest subway station is the Tekhnologicheskaya, the distance from which is about 800 meters.
After leaving the Metro, you need to cross Moskovskiy Avenue and continue on 1st Krasnoarmeyskaya Ulitsa, which will end in Ismailovskiy Avenue, behind which stands the Trinity Cathedral.
Route from metro station Tekhnologicheskaya to the Trinity Cathedral in St. Petersburg
The bus stop right near the church from the Trinity Avenue side is Izmailovsky Prospekt, through which the following public transportation: bus number 10, trolleybuses number 3 and 8, and cabs number 115, 177, and 90.
Also, you can get to Izmailovsky Cathedral by streetcar № 16: its stop is located on the 1st Krasnoarmeyskaya Street, across the street from the site.
There are parking lots near the Trinity Cathedral, so you can also reach it by car.
In St. Petersburg it is convenient to travel by cab: the prices for a trip are moderate, and the number of offers is such that you do not have to wait long for an order. All well-known applications work in the city on the Neva: Yandex.Taxi, Gett, Uber, Maxim, Citimobile, and Rutaxi.
Trinity Izmailovsky Cathedral or the Cathedral of the Holy Life-Giving Trinity
Snow-white Izmailovsky Cathedral, desecrated during the revolution, managed to survive and become the biggest and most important shrine of the Russian state. Its bright blue domes, generously decorated with gold stars, proudly dominate the city, glorifying the Orthodox faith.
On May 13, 1828 the peals of the bells announced the erection of a new church in honor of the Holy Life-Giving Trinity.
The temple was erected in honor of the Life Guards Izmailovsky Regiment. It was formed on September 22, 1730 by a decree of Empress Anna Ioannovna. The Emperor’s military formation had no church of its own, so soldiers had to visit other parishes. At the beginning of the fall of 1732 a portable church was brought to St. Petersburg, assembled and consecrated. It was a “seasonal church” on the Fontanka bank, with the advent of cold weather it was again dismantled.
After 10 years in its place was built in a wooden church, but it was small for the large number of parishioners. In 1752, the regiment petitioned Empress Elizabeth Petrovna for the need to build a new church. It was under construction for two years, but during the flood of 1824, it was damaged and could not be restored.
The decision to build a stone temple in place of the destroyed wooden church was made by Nicholas I. By his order, the temple was to accommodate up to three thousand people. The construction was attended by Nicholas I, the architect VP Stasov, and engineer VP Bazen. The process progressed slowly, since each decision was coordinated with the emperor.
The first stone of the Holy Trinity Monastery was laid on May 13, 1828, on the Feast of the Pentecost. The Cathedral was under construction for seven years and was inferior in size only to St. Isaac’s Cathedral, which was already under construction at that time in St. Petersburg. The cathedral was consecrated on May 25, 1835, on the eve of the feast of the Holy Trinity.
The emperor was dissatisfied with the paintings on the walls and the iconostasis, and twice asked to replace everything, but despite this temple seemed very bright and spacious. The main sacred objects of the temple were considered to be the image of the Resurrection, the icon of the Dormition of the Mother of God and the icon of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow”.
Despite the fact that the church was a regimental church, the number of civilian parishioners increased every year. F. Dostoevsky and A. Snitkina were married here, and also the great composer A. Rubinstein was buried there.
The fate of the Holy Trinity Izmailovsky Cathedral changed dramatically with the advent of Soviet power . It was turned into a regular parish church, and the regiment to which it belonged was disbanded.
On March 15, 1922, during the Divine Liturgy, with a large crowd of parishioners, the new “reformers” asked Archpriest Michael Cheltsov to surrender the main values of the church. They received a firm refusal from both the abbot of the church and his parishioners, and fearing “much bloodshed,” they retreated.
A month later, Father Michael was forced to sign a decree transferring the church treasures. The parishioners did their best to raise money and most of the property, and the shrine was redeemed. In all, about 2 kilograms of gold and 300 kilograms of silver were taken out of the temple by the Bolsheviks. In 1932 the Bolsheviks decided to destroy the cathedral altogether, wiping it off the face of the earth. In its place they planned to build a club for working people. Thanks to numerous requests from parishioners, VTsIK temporarily kept the cathedral open. In 1939, the building of the cathedral was transferred to the Lensovet Theater. Lensovet Theater as a workshop.
The restoration of the cathedral began only in 1990-2000, before that time there were occasional reports of thefts, vandalism and minor damage.
In 2006 a fire that broke out on the scaffolding of the Holy Trinity Izmailovsky Cathedral destroyed the world’s largest dome with a wooden base. Firefighters who arrived on the scene of the tragedy could not cope with the tongues of flame. The fire rose to a height of over 100 meters, destroying not only the dome, but also the attic ceilings. The causes of the fire have not been determined. Divine Liturgy in the church began the next morning, but not under the dome of the temple, but in the open air.
Izmailovo Cathedral – a large building with five domes, built in the empire style. Its height is more than 80 meters. Its facades are decorated with six-column porticoes and has bronze figures of angels in niches.
In 1836 on the walls were hung out marble plaques with the names of the officers who died in the battles of Austerlitz, Kulma and Friedland. The main dome of the cathedral can be seen from anywhere in the city at a distance of 20 kilometers.
Legend has it that the blue color of the domes was chosen according to the color of the Izmailovo coats.
Inside Izmailovskiy cathedral is bright and spacious. The main dome of the cathedral is raised by four Corinthian columns, it seems to float in the air. On the walls of the cathedral hung Turkish banners, which were a reminder of the victory in the war with God’s help. In 2005, the Column of Glory was restored in front of the shrine based on captured Turkish cannons.
Ministers of the cathedral
The abbot of the temple is Gennady Bartov, besides him here serve another 5 priests and 2 deacons. On the territory of the temple work:
- Sunday school
- youth community
Numerous travel agencies in Russia are ready to offer excursions to Holy Trinity Church Izmailovo. The cost of such tours varies depending on the distance and duration of the trip.
- Architect Stasov had to serve 10 days in jail for collapsing under the onslaught of the storm dome of the cathedral in February 1834.
- Consecrated in 1835, the cathedral was the highest in Russia at that time.
- The temple was built for the Izmailovo Regiment, so the regimental banners and trophies hang inside.
- The icon of the Holy Trinity was donated to the temple in 2003. It was purchased by the president of Russia abroad, where the icon ended up after the revolutionary events.
Working hours in 2019
Izmailovsky Cathedral is open for visits on weekdays from 9 to 19, on holidays – from 6 to 20. The cathedral is active, so the visit for tourists and pilgrims is absolutely free.
Where is it
Izmaylovsky avenue, 7 a
How to get there
Get off at the Tekhnologicheskiy Institut Metro Station, walk one block down 1st Krasnoarmeiskaya Street. On Izmaylovsky Avenue you will see the Holy Trinity Izmaylovsky Cathedral.