Description of St. Sampson Cathedral in St. Petersburg, history, address, mode of operation
St. Sampson Cathedral in St. Petersburg is an amazing object and one of the most beautiful monuments of Russian architecture of the eighteenth century. This complex, consisting of a cathedral, a bell tower and a chapel, has not only cultural significance, but also historical. After all, the creation of Sampsonievsky Cathedral was preceded by the bloody pages of the history of our country. For all the time of its existence, the cathedral complex often underwent changes and more than once was on the verge of complete destruction. But, to the joy of modern St. Petersburgers, he managed to survive to this day and pleases the parishioners with their refined beauty and decoration.
Sampsonievsky Cathedral: the beginning of a great history
The beginning of the eighteenth century is not the best period in the history of the Russian Empire. The war with the Swedes, led by Peter I, exhausted the country and significantly undermined the military spirit of the soldiers. Ordinary Russians suffered from higher taxes, lean years and famine.And the war demanded all new investments, which led to an increase in discontent not only among ordinary people, but also in circles of nobility. The country needed a victory that would change the course of military battles. And it happened. Near Poltava, Russian troops defeated the army of the Swedish king. This significant event happened on the day of the memory of Sampson the Freak (06.27.1709). We can say that this day began the history of St. Sampson Cathedral in St. Petersburg.
Order on the construction of the temple
The victory of Peter I was so significant that the monarch decided to immortalize it for posterity. In those days, it was decided to build triumphal arches or other similar structures, but a wise ruler judged otherwise. He knew that the soul of the Russian people had always been to God and lived under His blessing, so Peter I decided that the best that St. Petersburg could receive was the church. The order for its construction was given personally by the Tsar immediately after the Battle of Poltava.
The name of Sampson Cathedral was organically derived from the very day of the battle, so it never occurred to anyone to look for a different name for the temple. The construction site was also chosen personally by Peter I.He ordered to put the temple on the Vyborg road, which led to Sweden. All the soldiers going to the war passed by this temple and were inspired by the victory of the Russian army near Poltava. The erection of the temple took about a year.
Who is the author of the project, modern historians have not figured out. They put forward several possible candidates, but the architect of the cathedral remained unknown. Although, given the appearance of the building, historians have made the assumption that the author of the church was still a foreigner.
St. Petersburg: wooden church
The first temple was completely built of wood. It was the most common building material in Russia, so the church was decided to build from it. Now there is little historical information about how this first St. Sampson Cathedral in St. Petersburg looked, but it is known that the bell tower was decorated with cast-iron plates with speeches of the king, which he said before and after the momentous battle that brought victory over the Swedish army. In the big holidays these plates were carried to the streets of the city.
On the anniversary of the Battle of Poltava, people gathered near the temple, and cast-iron plates were installed in the square.Despite the fact that the cathedral was located almost outside the city limits, it was very much loved by the inhabitants of St. Petersburg. They often came here to church service, and the soldiers generally considered Rev. Sampson to be their patron.
The following year, after the consecration of the cathedral, it was decided to create the first official city cemetery in St. Petersburg. Under the place for him were given the land around St. Sampson Cathedral. After all, its location is ideal for these purposes. Previously departed citizens were buried right in the courtyards of local churches.
Peter I decided to bury foreigners who lived and worked in Russia at the cathedral. In the eighteenth century, the number of foreign citizens on the territory of our country was very large, and the question of their burial was very serious. The king reasoned that people who left their country could be considered as wanderers, and there is no better place for their bodies to rest in peace than St. Sampson Cathedral. The architect Trezini D.A. and the famous sculptor Rastrelli were buried in this particular cemetery. Over time, Russian nobles and aristocrats, who did everything necessary for the prosperity of their country, began to bury here.Unfortunately, neither the churchyard itself nor its monuments, which were of real historical value, have survived to this day.
Reconstruction of the temple: stages
Over time, the popularity of the church grew. Three years after the start of the operation of the Sampson Cathedral, an orphanage was opened for him or an almshouse, as it was then called. Often strangers came here and got shelter and food for a few days.
The number of parishioners grew every year, and the cathedral could no longer accommodate everyone. Moreover, over time, the wooden church, under the influence of natural phenomena, began to collapse, the structure itself and the external decoration decayed. Therefore, nineteen years after the momentous battle of Poltava, it was decided to build a new cathedral next to the old wooden church.
Donations of the patron Lapshin helped to start the construction, to which money donated by private individuals was added. Two people became architects of the new church - J. Trezzini and V. Zemtsov. But I would like to clarify that the authorship of the church was given to these architects according to the alleged information, since more reliable information about the project of the cathedral was not found until our days.
The construction of the church began with the western wing, which was almost completely completed by the early thirties of the eighteenth century. At this construction stopped, but the temple was still destined to appear. Anna Ivanovna, having returned the status of the capital to St. Petersburg and moved here with all her court, took control of the construction of the cathedral. As a result, in August 1740, the new building of the temple was consecrated. Some constructive changes were made to the initial design, and a beautiful bell tower grew next to the cathedral. Over time, the only dome was supplemented with four small poppies, which made the appearance of the building more traditional for Russia. After all, since the fifteenth century it was decided to complete the church with five domes.
Monument to Peter I
By the bicentenary of the victory over Poltava, the church was simply transformed. First of all, a monument to Peter I was erected in front of it. A talented master M. Antokolsky worked on the sculpture, the opening of the monument was accompanied by festive events and folk festivals. Sampsonievsky Cathedral was updated and received several additional buildings.The architects were able to turn the church into a real complex and built a chapel on the site of the original wooden structure. It was supplemented with a gatehouse and a special building with rooms for church attendants. It also has a small library. In honor of the bicentenary of the Battle of Poltava, he was called the "Jubilee House". Restorers installed cast-iron plates with the speeches of Peter I on the facades of the bell tower.
The post-revolutionary history of the cathedral
The revolution of the seventeenth year significantly changed the face of St. Petersburg, it also affected the temples. Many of them were closed, but Sampson Cathedral continued to function until the thirties of the last century. Practically before the beginning of the Second World War, the Vyborg Committee decided to stop the activity of the temple and close it until special orders. A little later, almost all the bells were removed from the bell tower, and the monument to the founder of the temple was transferred to the Tretyakov Gallery. It was a sad page in the history of the temple.
In the building of the cathedral placed the store ready-made clothes, and after a few years, gave him a vegetable base. During this time, the cathedral visibly suffered from human activity.During the war, it was even hit by a shell, which significantly damaged the most important bell, which had remained in its place until that time. The blast wave demolished two domes, and the church acquired a sad and lonely look.
Revival of the temple
In the late seventies, Bolshoy Sampsonievsky Avenue, where the temple stands, aroused interest among historians and local historians. The city administration allocated funds for the partial reconstruction of the cathedral. Its facades, domes and even some elements of decoration were restored. But before the complete reconstruction of the building was still far away.
The second birth of the cathedral can be called the assignment of a special status to it - the “museum-monument”. Sampsonievsky Cathedral awarded this honor in 1984. From that moment began to restore the former appearance of the cult object.
Of course, there was always not enough money. But the money allocated by the city’s budget was constantly replenished with donations from residents of St. Petersburg. And the miracle happened - in 1999, on the anniversary of the Battle of Poltava, the cathedral opened the doors for the first visitors. The museum began its work a year later, but Sampson Cathedral was still under reconstruction for two years.Step by step, talented masters painstakingly restored the decoration of the temple according to the sketches and photographs of various elements found.
The resumption of worship in the temple
After the reconstruction in May 2002, the first church service was held in the renewed cathedral, which was a great celebration for all Orthodox believers in St. Petersburg. A copy of the monument to Peter I also took its rightful place opposite the church. Eight years later, rare festive worship services were held in the temple. But gradually, there was talk in society about the need to return the cathedral to the bosom of the Orthodox Church.
Sampsonievsky Cathedral today
A long-awaited event happened just recently - the Sampson Cathedral was handed over to the church for forty-nine years, and services were resumed there on an ongoing basis. Now you can come to the temple at any time and enjoy the decoration of the cathedral and the old atmosphere of this place, which has experienced a lot of different events.
Location of the cathedral complex
If you ever find yourself in St. Petersburg, be sure to visit St. Sampson Cathedral.The address of this historical object can be found in any guidebooks or reference book. Yes, and most residents will be ready to tell you where the temple is located.
To get to Bolshoy Sampsonievsky Avenue, at d. 41, where the cathedral complex is located, it is best to use the metro. The nearest station is "Vyborg", from it you will need to walk a bit, and you will immediately see the blue domes and pale blue facades of the temple.
Sampsonievsky Cathedral: mode of operation
Now church services are held daily. The divine liturgy can be reached from Monday to Saturday at nine in the morning, on Sunday it starts at ten in the morning.
On Friday and Saturday at five o'clock in the evening evening services are held, on Saturdays at the same time read akathist. During the daytime, the temple doors are open to all visitors.
The uniqueness of the cathedral is difficult to overestimate, because this building is one of the few preserved buildings of the eighteenth century. In addition, Sampson Cathedral combines several styles. He connected the traditional Old Slavonic architecture with the European tendencies of the Peter the Great era.This is especially noticeable in the appearance of the bell tower. It is crowned with an unusual octagonal dome with several windows. This tradition was characteristic of the churches of Yaroslavl of the seventeenth century. The bell tower has several tiers and resembles a tent in its appearance.
All buildings of the cathedral complex have a blue color that looks incredibly harmonious against the sky. The temple itself is built of brick, and all the domes seem to be assembled on one drum, crowning the roof. This gives the cathedral a slightly unconventional look, which does not coincide with the old Russian customs.
As we already mentioned, the bell tower is divided into several floors. The lower one is extended with two attached buildings, which gives it solidity. Both upper floors are decorated with pilasters, the middle tier has an arch and "blind windows". On the third floor is a belfry. A bell has survived to our day, which was to be hoisted to its place as early as the eighteenth century. Now he is the pride of the cathedral complex.
The chapel is built in the baroque style of Rastrelli. It is very different from the cathedral and bell tower, and dates from the beginning of the twentieth century, the latest period in the history of the construction of the complex. The chapel is decorated with numerous columns, rounded gables and artistic compositions.This structure looks more complicated and modern compared to other similar ones.
The interior of the temple
The most important treasure of the temple can be seen only by entering the St. Sampson Cathedral. The interior and decoration of the church have been partially preserved since the eighteenth century, partly restored by modern masters. But of particular historical value is the golden iconostasis, made of precious woods. It is eleven meters high and combines all the traditions of old Russian woodcarving. All the icons of the temple were painted by masters of the eighteenth century - T. Bazhenov and A. Pospelov. They created magnificent images for a large iconostasis and other parts of the cathedral. The collection of rare icons is the pride of St. Sampson Cathedral, such a collection can not boast of any church in St. Petersburg, and in Russia as a whole.
The restorers of the temple were able to exactly recreate the decorations and elements of interior decoration. It is noteworthy that in the Soviet years, invaluable examples of art suffered from the disorder of people, and not from malicious destruction. Therefore, the cathedral was preserved for posterity, and now it appears before the eyes of the townspeople practically in its pristine beauty.
There is another shrine in the church - the relics of Rev. Sampson. Part of them was transferred to the vaults of the cathedral in the late nineteenth century. During the Soviet oblivion, the relics were preserved, and now they are available to the congregation during the opening hours of the temple.
Russia has a lot of cultural monuments that are of great historical value. They were almost forgotten and abandoned in the Soviet era and the nineties of the last century. But now the cultural heritage of our country is actively being restored and occupies a worthy place in the treasury of Russia.