Religious Tour in St Petersburg (Self Guided), St. Petersburg

When visiting St Petersburg you will be astonished by the number and variety of churches. There are world famous, architecturally refined, historical cathedrals as well as small but beautiful and originally designed churches. Of particular grandeur are Russian Orthodox churches. Take this tour to see some of the most famous religious jewels of Saint Petersburg.
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Religious Tour in St Petersburg Map

Guide Name: Religious Tour in St Petersburg
Guide Location: Russia » St. Petersburg (See other walking tours in St. Petersburg)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.9 km
Author: stacey
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Smolny Cathedral

1) Smolny Cathedral

Smolny Convent or Smolny Convent of the Resurrection (Voskresensky), located on Ploschad Rastrelli, on the bank of the River Neva in Saint Petersburg, Russia, consists of a cathedral (sobor) and a complex of buildings surrounding it, originally intended for a convent. This Russian Orthodox convent was built to house Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great. After she was disallowed succession to the throne, she opted to become a nun. However her Imperial predecessor, Ivan VI was overthrown during a coup d'état (carried out by the royal guards in 1741). Elizabeth then decided against entering monastic life and accepted the offer of the Russian throne and work on the convent continued with her royal patronage.

The convent's main church (catholicon or sobor), a blue-and-white building, is considered to be one of the architectural masterpieces of the Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who also redesigned the Winter Palace, and created the Grand Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, the Grand Palace in Peterhof and many other major St. Petersburg landmarks. Today, Smolny Cathedral is used primarily as a concert hall and the surrounding convent buildings house various offices and government institutions. In addition, the faculties of sociology, political science and international relations of the Saint Petersburg State University are located in some of the buildings surrounding the cathedral.

The name "Smolny" derives from the location, in the early days of St. Petersburg the place at the edge of the city where pitch ("smola" in Russian) was processed for use in shipbuilding and maintenance. As a result the locale was called "smolny" - the place of pitch.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
The Church of the Sign of Holy Virgin of Marriage-Accepting North Believers

2) The Church of the Sign of Holy Virgin of Marriage-Accepting North Believers

The Church of the Sign of Holy Virgin is a church of North Believers, the people whose beliefs are close to those of the Russian Orthodox church. During the reign of Tsar Nicholas I they were severely oppressed; however later they were allowed to build their own place of worship. On the 6th of August 1906 the foundation of their church was laid. The church was designed in Novgorod-Pskov style by D. A. Kryzhanovskij. The facade of the building, with arched windows, is painted in white. The interior is embellished with over 250 old icons.
3
Church of St. Tsarina Elena

3) Church of St. Tsarina Elena

The construction of the Church of St. Tsarina Elena started in 1885 under the guidance of the Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna. Being merciful she decided to build the free hospital. The work began after Elena's death, and continued under the supervision of her daughter Catherine, who decided to build a medical institution. Along with the institute, the church was built and received the name of St. Tsarina Elena. It is visited mostly by ill people from the hospital and physicians. The church boasts many old icons and has a belfry.
4
Transfiguration Cathedral

4) Transfiguration Cathedral

Transfiguration Cathedral was built on the order of Catherine the Great from 1743 to 1754 by Mikhail Zemtsov. The original church burned down in 1825 and was rebuilt from 1827 to 1829 by V.P. Stasov. The church is located on the Preobrazhenskaya Ploschad near the Liteyny Prospekt. The cathedral was once the home of the Transfiguration Regiment in St. Petersburg.

The cathedral design celebrates the military victory in the Turkish campaign of 1828 to 1829 and features a fence made from captured Turkish guns. The museum also honors officers who have fallen in battle.

The church features many religious relics. The Transfiguration of Christ, an icon of the Image of Edessa, and an icon of the Mother Mary are items that one should view when visiting. In addition, plaques that list the names of fallen officers are mounted on the walls. Uniforms of Alexander I, Nicholas I, and Alexander II, as well as a saber that Alexander II was wearing when an attempt was made on his life are on display. The church has the rare distinction of never being closed by the Soviets. Services are at 10 am and 6 pm Monday through Saturday and 7 am, 10 am, and 6 pm on Sunday.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
St. Petersburg Church of Our Lady of Lourdes

5) St. Petersburg Church of Our Lady of Lourdes

The St. Petersburg Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, also known as the Notre Dame de Lourdes, is a church that was built by French Catholics in 1891. Catholicism has been a part of Russian culture since the year 988 and there are over 10,000 Catholics in St. Petersburg. The church contains the famous Our Lady of Lourdes Statue that was imported from France. Architect Leonty Benoit designed the church.

Located on Kovensky Lane, it was one of only two functioning Catholic churches in Russia in the 1930s, the other being the Church of Saint Louis in Moscow. Building the church was not easy due to lack of funds. In addition, Catholicism has often been viewed as a religion that is not Russian. Fortunately, through perseverance and hard work, the parish succeeded and the church was established. To this day, the French government still owns the church.

The congregation is multicultural and the parish caters to that diversity. Masses are held daily in Russian and Polish. German Mass is held on Saturday evening and English Mass on Sunday. Masses are occasionally conducted in French and Italian. A popular event is the Sunday Latin High Mass that features readings in Russian.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Vladimir Mother of God Icon Church

6) Vladimir Mother of God Icon Church

The Vladimir Mother of God Icon Church, located on Vladimir Square and next to Vladimirsky Market, is one of the oldest churches in St. Petersburg. It features Baroque and Classical architectural styles, a four-tiered bell tower, and five onion-shaped cupolas that are topped with crosses. In 1748, the wooden house of worship was dedicated. The church was completed in 1783.

The church holds one of the oldest and most detailed iconostases in Russia. The Vladimir icon of the Mother of God is a part of the cathedral. The church was renovated in 1831 and a stone portico and a stairwell added. In 1833, another two-story portico was added to the northern and southern facade. In 1850, a fence, the Vladimir Icon, and two stone chapels were added. In addition, the bell towers and chapels were gilded.

Many of the building’s valuables were lost during the Revolution and the building closed in 1932. Only the iconostasis, located on the second floor, survived. Restoration work started in the 1970s. The church was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church and its parishioners in 1989 and named a cathedral in 2000. The church is quite beautiful when lit at night.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Cossack Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross

7) Cossack Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross

The Cossack Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross is a complex of churches and chapels located at the southern end of Ligovsky Prospekt. The main focal point of the complex is the Neoclassical bell tower of the cathedral and the magnificent colonnades that one passes through as they enter. The current church was designed by Egor Dimmert. It is located in an area that contains St. Petersburg oldest cemeteries and churches.

The original house of worship, built on the orders of the ruling body of the Orthodox Church, was a wooden structure that was erected in 1719. The cathedral was originally named after St. John the Baptist. The second place of worship, also a wooden building, was erected in 1764 and named Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God. In 1794, a stone structure was erected and the church received its current name. In 1851, the cathedral was modernized and received its current design for which it is famous.

In the 1930s, all of the churches and chapels were closed and the decorations and artifacts stolen. In 1991, the church became property of the Orthodox Church and restoration work began. Restoration work continues to this day. The church is open daily from 9 am to 8 pm.
8
Church of the Intercession of the Mother of God

8) Church of the Intercession of the Mother of God

Church of the Intercession of the Mother of God was founded in 1890 during the reign of Alexander III. This architecturally beautiful church was designed by N. N. Nikonov in the Russian Orthodox style of the 17th century. In 1936 the church was closed and deprived of its chapel, iconostasis and icons. In 1989 the building of this Orthodox church was occupied by the Baptists. For many years the Russian Orthodox church had insisted on the restitution of this architectural monument, and now inside the temple is established the church of St Martyr Benjamin of Petrograd.

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