Off the Beaten Track: St. Peter and Paul Cathedral of Petergof, Russia

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Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral


“We must stop and see this Cathedral on the way to Peterhof Gardens,” said our guide Olga of tours. Our group visited at a multi-layer-domed church in early Russian Orthodox architecture at Petergof. The Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral was under renovation. We could not enter. We saw beautiful gardens with a sign on the sidewalk pointing to the nearest Subway. Yes! The Western eating culture is alive and well in Russia.

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colored ceramic

The red brick, green and blue color of the exterior was haunting. Large, heavy Greek columns decorated the entrance that reminded me of the Library of Celsius in Ephesus, Turkey. Multiple windows were adorned with Greek column trims. The exterior adornment had multi-colored ceramic plagues with geometric and Byzantine designs. The front exterior showed its roots in Hellenic culture and Greek Orthodoxy with gold, mushroom domes with Byzantine crosses, a gold icon of Sts. Peter and Paul and the Greek letters XP (Jesus Christ).IMG_2814 (332x450) (258x350)

            “In 1892 it was decided to create the cathedral after Emperor Alexander II’s approval of Николай Султанов (Nikolay Sultanov)’s design, a civil engineer. The project aimed to provide local residents, who weren’t allowed into palace churches, a bigger place to gather for the religious service.

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exterior decoration

The construction took many years and it was finally completed under Nicholas II in 1905. In 1935 the church was shut down. During World War II it was seriously damaged as the whole Peterhof. It was used by German military forces as artillery headquarters, to spy on Soviet ships and then it became a warehouse. Eventually after long restoration works, the first church service was celebrated on January, 19, 1990.”1 Seeing this extraordinary Cathedral was an impressive experience.

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exterior decoration









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