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Cathedrals and churches of Saint Petersburg - Church of Saviour on the Spilt Blood

Built by the order of Alexander III the Church of Savior on the Spilled Blood was founded in 1895. It was meant to be built on the very same spot, where his father Alexander II was mortally wounded on March, 1st 1881, when a member of revolutionary organization People’s Will a terrorist Ignat Grinevitsky tossed a bomb to the tsar’s carriage. The first blueprints, inspired by Thon’s works, St. Sophia Cathedral of Constantinople and Novgorodian ancient churches, were presented to Alexander III later in 1881, but he rejected all the projects. In April 1882 the second contest was held and a church of 5 multicolored cupolas, imitated St.Basil’s cathedral on the Red Square in Moscow, was chosen. The schetches were presented by the academician Alfred Parland and Ignaty Malyshev. The construction of the church lasted for more than 10 years and was built to the means of imperial family and private donators from all the regions of Russia.

All the five domes of the church, measuring about 1000 square meters in area, are covered with different coloured jewelry enamel, the facades are decorated with semi-precious stones and mosaics, the coat-of-arms of Russian cities and regions, who donated funds for the construction of the church, are honored on the small commemoration desks. The exterior design of the church was created by the famous Russian artists – Vanetsov and Nesterov. In the niches of the ground floor one can see 20 granite plaques with the most important events of Alexander II’s reign, starting from rejection of a serfdom in Russia in 1861 to the never before attempted in Ruusia military and urban reforms.

Both exterior and interior of the Church of savior on the Spilled Blood are very rich – unique mosaics, glazed brick, ornaments, frames, corbels, etc. In 1892 a wooden bridge was laid, forming a stone paved area in front of the belfry of savior on the Spilled Blood. According to the Parland’s blueprints, an arch of railings with plant ornaments bordered the square from south, east and north. The giant church of 81 meters high was sanctified on 31st of August 1907. Although it was one of the masterpieces of Alexandrine Empire style, it was not popular with the inhabitants of St.Petersburg. In 1930s the church was closed for the services, when Bolsheviks were destroying the symbols of religion nationwide, and remembering about the place, where the church is standing, they performed a blasphemous act – they opened a museum of revolutionary organization People’s Will. The museum was closed in 2 years and until 1997 the church was under reconstruction. Finally restored and re-consecrated, it is now one of the most marvelous and magnificent churches in St.Petersburg.

In 1892 a broad wooden bridge was laid across from the belfry of the Savior on Spilled Blood, forming a block stone paved area I front of the entrance to the church. And according to the project by Parland, an arch of railing, consisting of 52 links with stylized plant ornament, was made on the Winkler Plant in 1903-1907 and bordered southern, eastern and northern sections of the square. The giant church with its central copula at the height of 81 meter  was consecrated on the 31st of August 1907, but since this multicolored structure stood out among the austere masterpieces of the Alexandrine Empire style, many citizens disliked it. Te church was closed for the services in 1930s, when Bolsheviks were destroying churches nationwide. And in 1931 they performed one of the sacrilegious acts by opening a museum o the People’s Will in the church which commemorated its victim. The museum was closed in 1934 and for the next 20 years it has been under reconstruction. And only in 1997 the Cathedral was finally repaired and re-consecrated in all its dazzling former glory.

NB! You can visit this church during our individual city tour or tours to churches and cathedrals of St.Petersburg.


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