The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood is a marvelous Russian-style church built on the spot where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in March 1881, St. Petersburg, Russia

The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood is a marvelous Russian-style church built on the spot where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in March 1881, St. Petersburg, Russia

 

Our second stop on our highlights tour in St. Petersburg, Russia, was at the reopened — back in 1997, so it was closed on an earlier visit — Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood.

“The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood [Russian: Храм Спаса на Крови] is a marvelous Russian-style church built on the spot where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in March 1881.  After assuming power in 1855 in the wake of Russia’s disastrous defeat in the Crimean war against Britain, France and Turkey, Alexander II initiated a number of reforms.  In 1861 he freed the Russian serfs (peasants, who were almost enslaved to their owners) from their ties to their masters and undertook a rigorous program of military, judicial and urban reforms, never before attempted in Russia.  However, during the second half of his reign Alexander II grew wary of the dangers of his system of reforms, having only barely survived a series of attempts on his life, including an explosion in the Winter Palace and the derailment of a train.  Alexander II was finally assassinated in 1881 by a group of revolutionaries, who threw a bomb at his royal carriage.” – Saint-Petersburg.com

 

The Church of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, locally the Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood - or even just the Church on the Blood, was designed by Alfred Parland in the style of 16th and 17th-century Russian churches, St. Petersburg, Russia

The Church of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, locally the Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood – or even just the Church on the Blood, was designed by Alfred Parland in the style of 16th and 17th-century Russian churches, St. Petersburg, Russia

 

The elaborate façade of The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

The elaborate façade of The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

 

“The decision was taken to build a church on the spot where the Emperor was mortally wounded.  The church was built between 1883 and 1907 and was officially called the Resurrection of Christ Church (a.k.a. The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood ).  The construction of the church was almost entirely funded by the Imperial family and thousands of private donators.  Both the interior and exterior of the church is decorated with incredibly detailed mosaics, designed and created by the most prominent Russian artists of the day (V.M. Vasnetsov, M.V. Nesterov and M.A. Vrubel).  Interestingly, despite the church’s very obviously Russian aspect, its principle architect, A. Parland, was not even Russian by birth.  The church was closed for services in the 1930s, when the Bolsheviks went on an offensive against religion and destroyed churches all over the country.  It remained closed and under restoration for over 30 years and was finally re-opened in 1997 in all its dazzling former glory… NOTE: Translations of the church’s name vary between guidebooks and include The Church of the Savior on Blood, The Resurrection Church and The Church of the Resurrection of Christ.” – Saint-Petersburg.com

 

The mosaic of Christ Pantocrator  ("Almighty" or "All-powerful" -- The Pantocrator is largely an Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Catholic theological conception) under the central dome, The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

The mosaic of Christ Pantocrator (“Almighty” or “All-powerful” — The Pantocrator is largely an Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Catholic theological conception) under the central dome, The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

 

“On July 20, 1970 the church was made a branch of the St. Isaac’s Cathedral museum, and eighty percent of the church’s extraordinary restoration was funded by profits from St. Isaac’s.  The decades of deterioration and then restoration culminated in the dramatic re-opening of the church in August 1997, when thousands of eager visitors swamped the church.  The project was estimated to cost 3.6 million rubles, but ended up costing 4.6 million rubles, mainly from the extravagant collection of mosaics.  The more than 7500 sq. meters of mosaics link Alexander II’s murder with the crucifixion.” – Saint-Petersburg.com

 

Ceiling and wall mosaics, The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

Ceiling and wall mosaics, The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

 

All of the church’s pillars are completely covered in religious mosaics (Bible scenes), The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

All of the church’s pillars are completely covered in religious mosaics (Bible scenes), The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

 

“Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg’s other structures.  The city’s architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism.  It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow.” – Wikipedia

 

Mosaics on another pillar, The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

Mosaics on another pillar, The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

 

“The Church contains over 7,500 square meters (8,970 square yards) of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world.  This record may be surpassed by the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, which houses 7,700 square meters of mosaics.  The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov, and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church’s chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family).  Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church’s construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million rubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million.  The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.” – Wikipedia

 

The elaborate decorations of The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

The elaborate decorations of The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

 

The entrance to the altar, richly decorated with mosaics and elaborate entry doors, The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

The entrance to the altar, richly decorated with mosaics and elaborate entry doors, The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

 

Close-up of the elaborate entry doors to the altar, The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

Close-up of the elaborate entry doors to the altar, The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

 

 

An interior view of multiple arches and pillars covered with detailed Biblical scene mosaics, The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

An interior view of multiple arches and pillars covered with detailed Biblical scene mosaics, The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

 

6 thoughts on “The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

  1. Hi Robin and Richard – great info on St. Petersburg and pics as well. I forwarded on to Riki and Glenn who are on a cruise ship heading for SP. Surprised to receive, because I though you were off the ship. Ron

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    • Thanks for sharing with Riki and Glenn — they will have a great time (the problem is there’s more to see than the number of days any of us plan on in a short visit). Hopefully the weather has become more spring/summer like — we had really cool and wet weather. Note that I more or less keep current on my blog posts while sailing, but in a port like St. Petersburg where you are on the go morning, noon and night, it’s challenging enough to get a good night’s sleep; all other activities get put on hold until a more relaxing port (or home). Rich

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  2. Such a wonderful church/cathedral, which your photos have captured beautifully. Of all the ones I’ve seen, this one in St. Petersburg is my favorite — even (slightly) outpacing St. Basil’s in Moscow. Glad you enjoyed it so much! Pat Mutch

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