Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra: description, history and interesting facts


2018-03-18 17:01:17




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To the South-East from the centre of Saint Petersburg, near the Bank of the Neva there stands a dome majestic Holy Trinity Cathedral, an architectural centre and a decoration of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra. Its noble shape is familiar and close to every citizen of Petersburg. They became a hallmark of the city, like a ship on the Admiralty spire and “raised Russia on its hind legs” the bronze horseman.

Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra

Monastery, born of the command of Peter the Great

Historical records indicate that in 1710, having been at the confluence of the Neva river, the Black river – as in the old days was called the current river Monastyrka, – the Emperor Peter I ordered to build a monastery there, dedicated to the Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky. His desire was not a momentary whim. It was the war with Sweden, and heavenly patron, especially who had the experience to smash the Swedes were required. The choice of locations for the construction of the monastery was the result existed in the years of the erroneous opinion that this was the place Prince Alexander won his victory.

His “in spite of haughty neighbor” your great city, Tsar Peter put his construction in a big way. Was developed the General plan, under which the city streets stretched out in a strict geometrical order. For the construction of government buildings, temples and palaces of the nobles had invited the best foreign architects. The labor of thousands of serfs, driven from all Russia, from the Finnish swamps marshes rose the Venice of the North.

In the midst of the work, when erected bastions of the Peter and Paul fortress and the newly-built Admiralty shipyard were down on the water the first ships of the Russian Navy, attended the Emperor to the necessity of establishing a spiritual center. Wished Peter king to venerable monks away from the city noise and I have prayed continually for the Lord's benediction to all his endeavours. In addition, as mentioned above, was in the midst of a war with the Swedes, and the memory of the Saint, once defeated them, had to inspire the current warriors.


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Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra history

Preparations for the construction of the monastery

For the new monastery the sovereign personally has allocated a hefty plot of land on the banks of the Neva, in addition, it was attributed to extensive farmland in the Olonets region. Work on the project of the architectural complex was carried out two years later by the Italian architect of Swiss origin Domenico Trezzini.

Project D. Trezzini

It was Originally planned that the complex of monastic buildings, symmetrically spread out throughout the space allotted to him on the Bank of the Neva was to be another fortification on the South-East of the young capital, so it was built according to all rules of fortification.

To Connect the monastery with St. Petersburg was planned padded through the forest thicket road, named on the plan as “Nevskaya pershpektiva” – future main thoroughfare of the city Nevsky prospect.

The Architectural center of the construction of the monastery was to become the temple, the place which was indicated on the plan by Trezzini, and from which he expected to begin the construction of the Nevsky Prospekt. The creation of the project of the temple was commissioned recently arrived from Germany a young but already won the fame of the architect T. Shvertfeger, hot-blooded follower of fashion in those years the style of German Baroque.

Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg


This the first, not extant, the Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra was a Grand structure, decorated with two bell towers with spires on the tops. In 1719 began the complex preparatory work. The construction of the building, which lasted for eleven years, was completed in 1733, but it soon became clear that his plan was serious errors.

In particular, were not sufficiently strengthened the ground on which was erected the Foundation. The result was differential settlement of the individual parts of the Cathedral that was the cause of the cracks on the arches. Established in 1744, the Commission came to the conclusion about the real danger of building collapse and the inability of its operation.

The Complete dismantling of the temple, begun in 1753 and produced under the leadership of state Councilor Ivan Yakovlevich Rossi, namesake of the famous Carlo Rossi, took two years. After the first Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky monastery in St. Petersburg was dismantled completely, he for six years was the only unfinished element of the total built by the time of the monastic complex.

A Supreme decree of Catherine II

A New stage in the construction of the temple belongs to the reign of Empress Catherine II, a commandment which in 1763 was established by the competition of projects of the Cathedral. It was attended by the most famous architects of that time such as Y. M. Felten, A. F. Kokorin, F. Wiest, C. A. Volkov and others. None of the presented works have not received the highest approval, and the construction project was frozen for another eleven years.

Only in 1774, when further delay was impossible – the monastery is built, and the Central temple there, – Ekaterina II ordered to entrust the project of creation of Russian architect Ivan Yegorovich Starovo. Work on the technical documentation took two years, and in 1776, after the highest approval of the project, the author was responsible for supervising the construction. The Empress was personally present at the ceremonial laying of the Cathedral. Immediately following the ceremonies, blessed, started to work.

Alexander Nevsky Lavra Trinity Cathedral

The Completion and consecration of the temple

After four years the sky up two double-Decker tower-bell tower. One of them, South, then chimes were installed, and the other, North, raised trinadcatiletnie bell, who was first at the Iveron monastery and cast in 1658. To 1786 and installation work was largely completed and the four years taken to finish the interior and to allow time for precipitation of the building, consecrated the Cathedral.

It took place with unusual solemnity in the presence of Catherine the great. Then from the nearby the Church of the Annunciation under incessant gun salute in the Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra were moved stored there until that time, the silver reliquary in which reposed the Holy relics of Alexander Nevsky.

Church – a tribute to heroes

Since its construction, the Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg belongs to the category of so-called capital, that is, the order of the temples. In this case we are talking about the order of St. Alexander Nevsky. Originally dedicated his bounds were placed under the southern tower, but in 1838, it was abolished.

As a special sign of respect to all was awarded to them in 1791 opened a special hall adjacent to the Cathedral showed a case, and later over the entrance to the temple has a relief image of the order.

Holy Trinity Alexander Nevsky Lavra

The Beginning of the era of total atheism

Since the beginning of Bolshevik rule Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky monastery did not avoid the process of the expropriation of valuables belonging to the Church. Everything, according to the new authorities, valuable, was it issued, and the building a year transferred to the Renovationists – representatives emerged after the February revolution, the schismatic movement among the clergy, speaking for “renewal of the Church” and tried to get along with the Bolsheviks.

From 1928 to 1933, the Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky monastery belonged to different branches of the clergy, known in history as “nepominaiushchie”. This group of priests refused to compromise with the Soviet authorities and their worship to prayer to commemorate Metropolitan Sergius (Stargorodsky), who worked closely with her. While this is a seemingly minor deviation from Church of the Charter could be regarded by the authorities as a political act, and in order to be resolved, required a fair amount of courage.

Church in the years of the totalitarian regime

But in 1933 the Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky monastery, whose history is largely in tune with the history of most of the temples and monasteries of that time, was closed. The last service in it was held on 7 December. In the building of the Cathedral, a recognized masterpiece of temple architecture, launched a propaganda center. In the subsequent period in the premises of the Cathedral housed the district housing management, warehouse and Museum. Was abolished and Alexander Nevsky Lavra.

Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra tradition

Trinity Cathedral was returned to the Orthodox people in 1957, but only for the rights of the parish Church and provided that the community undertakes, at its own expense make all necessary repairs and restorations. Fortunately, over the years since its closure, were not destroyed by the marble iconostasis. Pinceti, which greatly accelerated the restoration of the temple. A year later, when completed the initial phase of renovation, the temple was...

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Alin Trodden - author of the article, editor
"Hi, I'm Alin Trodden. I write texts, read books, and look for impressions. And I'm not bad at telling you about it. I am always happy to participate in interesting projects."

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