Church of the Savior on Spilt Blood

The Church of the Resurrection

Church of the Savior on Blood  In March 1881 Russia was stunned by the terrorist assassination of Emperor Alexander II. The tragedy occurred not far from the Winter Palace - on the bank of the Catherine Canal. Two years later a memorial church was begun there that has become one of St Petersburg's most striking edifices.
The architect Alfred Parland produced, at the request of Alexander III, a brilliant stylized version of a 17th-century church, investing it with a wealth of constructional and decorative elements that clearly derived from the architecture of Moscow and Yaroslavl in the time of Tsar Mikhail Fiodorovich (1596-1645). He made extensive use of mosaic panels set into the walls (their total area is over 400 square metres) and the traditional whitening of individual details to set them off from the red brick walls.
The foundation stone was laid on 6 November 1883. Construction of the vaults was completed in 1894 and the nexi year the frames of the nine domes were made. The metal sheathing for five of the domes, produced at Postnikov's facta in Moscow, was covered with jeweller's enamel (over 1,000 square metres). In 1899 bells cast in Finland were hung in the bell-tower. The main bell weighed 17.6 tonnes. The church was consecrated in 1907, a quarter-century after it was begun. The cost of construction was around five million roubles, roughly a tenth of which came from voluntary donations.
Our Saviour on the Spilt Blood is a heavy and highly complex construction with a height of 81 metres (without the cross that was originally 6 metres tall; the present central cross is 4.5 metres). It stands on a man-made platform projecting into the canal in order to incorporate the embankment where Alexander II was killed into the building. For the first time in St Petersburg constructional history, Parland abandoned the use of a pile foundation, employing a concrete base instead. To keep water out of the foundations, elaborate damp-proofing measures had to be devised, involving sandwiches of clay and other materials. Steam boilers and heat-exchangers were installed in the basement for heating with hot air rising into the body of the church through ducts in the walls. The main dome was additionally heated by cast-iron radiators to which steam passed along copper pipes. None of the domes are pierced and light enters the building only through relatively small windows, and so Parland devised a complex system of electrical lighting with more than 1,500 lamps.

Russian style

The term eclectic (from a Greek word meaning "selective") came into use about a century ago and is probably the most appropriate general characterization of European architecture in the second half of the 19th century. By that time the development of architectural scholarship,the evolution of constructional techniques and the diminishing influence of House of Faberge, the academic school provided architects with almost boundless possibilities to carry out the most exotic projects. Each European country had its own preferences shaped by tradition.
In Russia, where patriotic sentiment was on the increase, there began a large-scale re-evaluation of the early Russian artistic legacy and national folklore. This affected music (Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin), literature (Alexei Tolstoi, Yershov), painting (Vasnetsov, Surikov, Bilibin), applied art (the Abramtsevo circle, Talashkino) and, of course, architecture. Strangely enough, the impetus for the revival of old Russian traditions came from a British movement in the arts that attracted European attention to pre-Roman (Celtic) folklore, although the first in Russia to adopt folk creations to official artistic culture was unarguably Alexander Pushkin, the author of some brilliant verse retellings of Russian fairy-tales (The Tale of the Dead Princess, Ruslan and Liudmila and others).
Russians who turned to their own nation's past with were amazedto find there artistic treasures that were not only equal, but often superior to much produced in Western Europe - The Lay of Igor's Host, the miniatures of the Ostromir Gospel, the churches and frescoes of Novgorod and Vladimir, the icons of Andrei Rublev, and, digging deeper, the almost unstudied treasures of the Scythian-Sarmatian world and other antiquities.
The fashion for the past that swept Russia at times took on very bizarre forms, but also had serious results: a flourishing of book illustration, the foundation of the Russian Museum and its ethnographic department, an upsurge of interest in linguistics and archaeology, dozens of ethnographic expeditions to remote corners of the Empire.
Our Saviour on the Spilt Blood is only one facet of this great cultural endeavour.
Russia Cathedral Russia Cathedral Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ Twelve Christ Virgin Marble floors of the cathedral
Cathedral domes. Resurrection Cathedral. Cathedrals of St. Petersburg. Temples of St. Petersburg. Visit of St. Petersburg. Trip to St. Petersburg. Christ's image. Mother of God, mosaic of a northwest dome. Mother of God. Marble floors in a cathedral.
The decoration of the Cathedral Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ  Mosaic Cathedral in St. Petersburg Photos cathedral Dome
The church is even more impressive on the inside as it is iconic on the outside.
Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ Churches and cathedrals Temples and cathedrals of Russia Russia dome of the cathedral The dome of St. Petersburg
Photo. Domes of Resurrection Cathedral of Church of the Savior on Blood in St. Petersburg.
Canopy above the spot where Alexander II was killed
The tent-roofed canopy above the fateful spot was designed by Parland. The supporting columns and canopy itself are made from jasper with inset Bukhara lapis lazuli. Inside it was lined with lapis lazuli using the Florentine mosaic technique and set with Siberian semi-precious stones and topazes that play the role of stars. The cross above is adorned by over a hundred topazes.
Icon of St Alexander Nevsky
This mosaic icon in the northern section of the iconostasis was designed by Mikhail Nesterov. The designs for other icons were made by no less outstanding artists - Victor Vasnetsov (Virgin and Child, Saviour), Nikolai Brum (Last Supper), Nikolai Kharlamov (The Eucharist) and others.
The central part of the iconostasis
Icon of St Alexander Nevsky
This mosaic icon in the northern section of the iconostasis was designed by Mikhail Nesterov. The designs for other icons were made by no less outstanding artists - Victor Vasnetsov (Virgin and Child, Saviour), Nikolai Brum (Last Supper), Nikolai Kharlamov (The Eucharist) and others.
The church interior with tne canopy
Materials for the interior decoration of the church were prepared simultaneously in a number of Russian and Italian workshops. The marble parts of the iconostasis (and also the multicoloured 650-square-metre marble floor) were made in Genua after 1900 to Parland's designs. The openwork rhodonite icon-cases were the product of twenty years work (1894-1906) by the craftsmen of the Yekaterinburg and Kolyvan lapidary works. The holy gates were made in Moscow in 1900. In all some twenty types of expensive decorative stone were used to finish the church, including very rare coloured marble from Italy, Urals and Altai jasper, porphyry and rhodonite.
In March 1895 the commission for the construction of the church chose the Frolovs' workshop in St Petersburg as the contractor for the mosaic decoration of the building. Its products combined the highest quality with relatively low-weight smaltos (glass components). Mikhail Nestorov, Victor Vasnetsov, Andrei Riabushkin and Nikolai Kharlamov, as well as the lesser known Vasily Beliayev, Nikolai Bruni and others, were asked to supply designs for the mosaics. Kharlamov produced the most - 42 cartoons.