St. Isaac's Cathedral - A Religious Landmark

The St Petersburg skyline is dominated by the dome of St Isaac’s Cathedral. It is approximately 300 steps to the observation walkway, which is situated just underneath the gilded cupola that shines and dances in the sunlight. From the observation walkway you can see beautiful views over St Petersburg, and get a sense for the architectural marvel.

The construction of the St Isaac’s Cathedral, which was to be the main church for the Russian empire, took 40 years to complete. Architect Auguste Montferrand oversaw the building that started in 1818 and ended in 1858. The Tsar issued instructions in regard to the consecration of the church, and the St Petersburg Cathedral was consecrated in the name of St Isaac of Dalmatia on 30 May 1858. As per the Tsar’s instructions, the main altar was consecrated on 30 May, with the two side altars following on 1 and 8 June. Many Holy Relics were brought and placed on the main throne. The relics were brought from St Alexander Nevky Laura and from the Kazan Cathedral. The consecration ceremony also named St Isaac’s Cathedral the main Russian church, and it remained this way until the 1922 Renovation Split.

The St Isaac’s Cathedral was the centre of all festivities, including anniversaries such as the Nistadt Peace Treaty, Chesmen and Poltava victories. Also a memorable victory that was celebrated was the Patriotic War of 1812. Celebrations and festivals were always accompanied by military choirs, musicians and processions.

The décor of the St Isaac’s Cathedral is lavish and is draped in precious sanctities, such as the Our Lady of Tikhvin icon which was carried to the cathedrals consecration under the order of His Grace Metropolitan Grigory; the Our Lady of Korsun icon; a non man-made image of the Savior that belonged to Peter the Great and the Four banners of the State Homeland Guard and the old banner of the 1812 Homeland Guard.

So much detail was added to this cathedral and no expense was spared. This is evident in the columns made of 80 tons of red granite each, and the wall that separates the church from the altar, is decorated with two lapis lazuli columns and 8 malachite columns. The St Isaac’s Cathedral can seat 14 000 worshippers and it is due to the beauty, size and elaborate décor that makes the Cathedral the pride of St Petersburg.

 



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