Cathedrals of Russia

In every city of Russia there is a Main Cathedral of the Orthodox diocese. There are several hundred such cathedrals in all of Russia. In this review on the Geomerid online travel guide, you can read about cathedrals that have historical and cultural value. Also here are described the largest cathedrals of the Russian Orthodox Church: 

1. Moscow: Cathedral of Christ the Savior
2. St. Petersburg: Kazan Cathedral
3. Veliky Novgorod: St. Sophia Cathedral
4. Vladimir: Assumption Cathedral
5. Smolensk: Assumption Cathedral
6. Pskov: Trinity Cathedral
7. Tobolsk: St. Sophia Cathedral
8. Voronezh: Annunciation Cathedral
9. Novocherkassk: Voznesensky Military Cathedral
10. Nizhny Novgorod: Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
11. Yaroslavl: Assumption Cathedral
12. Omsk: Assumption Cathedral

Follow the hyperlinks to read in detail about each cathedral

1.    Moscow: Temple of Christ the Savior

The construction of the Temple of Christ the Savior began in 1816, but was completed only in 1883 at another location. It is not called a Cathedral or a church. Informally as well as formally it was always called temple – the Temple of Christ the Saviour. It is the main temple not only of Moscow but the entire Russia. This is the main temple of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Temple of Christ the Saviour was dedicated to Our Lord Jesus Christ who saved Russia from the armies of Napoleon in 1812. Alexander I issued the manifesto about the construction of the temple I on the same day as the remaining soldiers of the French army crossed the Niemen and left the territory of Russia.

2.    St. Petersburg: Kazan Cathedral

Kazan Cathedral on Nevsky Prospekt is the main cathedral of St. Petersburg. The Kazan Cathedral was founded in 1801, and completed in 1811, just a year before the Patriotic War with Napoleon. There was a prayer service here before Kutuzov left for the army in 1812, and in 1813 he was buried here.

The Kazan Cathedral became a place to honor the victories of the Russian army in the Patriotic War with Napoleon. 107 captured banners of the French army were placed here, including the marshal's baton of Davout, captured in battle, as well as the keys to 17 European cities and 8 fortresses that surrendered to the Russian army in 1813.

The facade of the Kazan Cathedral is a huge colonnade of 96 columns facing Nevsky Prospekt. Compositionally, the colonnade is similar to St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome. The main shrine of the Kazan Cathedral is the revered replica of the Kazan Miraculous Icon of the Mother of God. In terms of capacity, Kazan Cathedral is the largest church in St. Petersburg and one of the largest in Russia.

3.    Veliky Novgorod: St. Sophia Cathedral

St. Sophia Cathedral is a cathedral in Veliky Novgorod, in the north-west of Russia. The Cathedral of St. Sophia of the Wisdom of God, was founded in 1045 by Yaroslav the Wise, on the model of St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev. This is the oldest stone temple in Russia.

The temples of northern Russia differ from those that were built in the southern lands. The northern temples are squat, have powerful walls and narrow windows. This is due to the harsh climate. However, despite this, ancient architects created a monumental temple, 38 meters high.

4.    Vladimir: Assumption Cathedral

The Assumption Cathedral is the main cathedral of Vladimir, in the Central region of Russia. Vladimir Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky decided to build a temple that would emphasize the status of Vladimir as the political center of Russia during the period of feudal fragmentation. The Assumption Cathedral was built in 1158-1160, and 30 years later, after the fire, the cathedral was significantly expanded in 1186-1189. Since then, it has come down to us unchanged.

In the 15th century, many icons and frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted by the great Russian icon painter Andrei Rublev. Until 1395, another Russian shrine, the Icon of the Vladimir Mother of God, was kept in the cathedral, which was later moved to the Tretiakov Gallery. In 1810, a belfry was added to the Assumption Cathedral.

5.    Smolensk: Assumption Cathedral

The Assumption Cathedral is the main cathedral of Smolensk, in the Central region of Russia. The Assumption Cathedral is located on the top of the Cathedral Mountain, where in ancient times there was a wooden Kremlin. Smolensk is located on a hilly terrain, and the high walls and domes of the cathedral are visible from almost everywhere.

In 1101, Vladimir Monomakh laid the first large stone Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin. For more than 500 years the cathedral stood unchanged, but in 1609 the troops of the Polish King Sigismund besieged Smolensk. During the assault, the Assumption Cathedral was blown up. After the liberation of the city, it was not possible to restore the old cathedral, so it was dismantled, and in 1677 construction of a new cathedral began. It was rebuilt several times, and the building of 1772 has reached our days.

6.    Pskov: Trinity Cathedral

Trinity Cathedral is the main cathedral of Pskov, in the North-Western region of Russia. The Pskov Kremlin is located on a high hill at the confluence of the Velikaya and Pskova rivers, and the Trinity Cathedral stands on a rock in the center of the Kremlin. It is clearly visible from any point and is reflected in the waters of rivers.

Since 957, 4 cathedrals have been built on the same place, replacing each other. Each of them bears the name of the Holy Trinity. The fourth Trinity Cathedral was built in 1699, and it has survived to our times. The fourth temple has become much larger and taller than its predecessors. Its height is 78 meters.

7.    Tobolsk: St. Sophia Cathedral

The St. Sophia Assumption Cathedral in the Tobolsk Kremlin is the main cathedral of Tobolsk, in the Siberian region of Russia. This is the oldest white stone building in Siberia, built in 1683-86 by an artel of masons from Moscow and Veliky Ustyug, under the head of Gerasim Sharypin.

The height of the cathedral is 47 meters, and the thickness of the walls reaches 2 meters. For almost three hundred years it was the cathedral of the bishops and metropolitans of Tobolsk and All Siberia and their tomb. There are seven burials under the floor of the cathedral. Inside, the cathedral looks very large. The vaults are supported by massive pillars that have been made thicker than usual due to the collapse.

8.    Voronezh: Annunciation Cathedral

The Annunciation Cathedral is the main cathedral of Voronezh in the central region of Russia. It was founded in 1586, the same year that Voronezh itself was founded. For more than a century, the main cathedral remained wooden. The stone cathedral was laid by the first Voronezh bishop, St. Mitrofan, in 1682.

In 1929, divine services in the Voronezh Cathedral were discontinued and destruction began. After the WWII, the cathedral was finally destroyed, and the Main Building of the Voronezh University was built in its place. In 1998, it was decided to recreate the cathedral on the territory of Pervomaisky Square, quite remote from the original historical site. The new cathedral was built in the Byzantine style. Its height reaches 85 meters, and the height of the bell tower is 97 meters.

9.    Novocherkassk: Voznesensky Cathedral

Voznesensky Military Cathedral is the main cathedral of Novocherkassk, in the south of Russia. In 1804, the capital of the Cossack Don army was moved from Cherkassk to Novocherkassk. In 1805, on the feast of the Ascension of the Lord, a new cathedral of the Don Army was laid. The project provided for the construction of one of the tallest temples in Russia in those years.

During the construction of the cathedral, it was destroyed twice. As a result, Cossacks decided to build the third version of the cathedral in 1891, and the construction was completed by May 6, 1905. Novocherkassk Cathedral was one of the first buildings in Russia where reinforced concrete structures were used to strengthen the foundation. The Ascension Cathedral is one of the largest churches in Russia.

10. Nizhny Novgorod: Al.Nevsky Cathedral

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is the main cathedral of Nizhny Novgorod, in the Volga region of Russia. It is located on the Arrow where the Oka and Volga rivers merge. During the 19th century, the famous Nizhny Novgorod Fair was located here, and the cathedral, built with merchants' money, was called NewFair.

By the middle of the 19th century, the Nizhny Novgorod merchants decided to build a new Orthodox cathedral on the territory of the fair, significantly larger in size. The decision about construction was made in 1856 during a visit to the fair by Emperor Alexander II. The church was built and consecrated in 1881. The cathedral is one of the tallest in Russia.

11. Yaroslavl: Assumption Cathedral

The Assumption Cathedral is the main cathedral of Yaroslavl, in the central region of Russia. The Cathedral in Yaroslavl was founded in 1215, a year earlier than the Transfiguration Monastery that has come down to our days. It was rebuilt many times, and in 1937 it was blown up. By the celebration of the 1000th anniversary the Assumption Cathedral was restored to its former place.

The new Assumption Cathedral was consecrated on September 12, 2012 by Patriarch Kirill during celebration the 1000th anniversary of the founding of Yaroslavl. The cathedral is within walking distance from other attractions of the city – the Church of Elijah the Prophet and the Governor's House.

12. Omsk: Assumption Cathedral

The Assumption Cathedral is the main temple of the Omsk Diocese. It is located on Sobornaya square, opposite the building of the Legislative Assembly of Omsk. The Cathedral was founded in 1891 by Tsarevich Nikolai Alexandrovich, the future Emperor Nicholas II, who was traveling around the Russia.

It is believed that for the basis of Assumption cathedral project the architect Ernst Wirrich took the project of the Church of the Savior on Blood, built earlier in St. Petersburg, however, these two churches are completely different from each other. Like many other Russian cathedrals, the Assumption Cathedral in Omsk was destroyed in 1935. In 2005, the Omsk authorities decided to restore it.