The Orthodox Church of St. Peter and Paul is located on the Rabbit Island as an integrated part of the Petropavlovsk fortress. Together with the fortress, the church represents the oldest sight of the city of St. Petersburg. It was named after the saints, Peter and Paul, the patron saints of the fort (St. Peter is the saint and patron of Saint Petersburg).
The architect, who was engaged on the construction of the church, was the court architect of Peter the Great, Domenico Trezzini. The architecture of the church seems quite unobtrusive in comparison to the baroque architecture of many other buildings in this city. However, the gilded tower made of marble and decorated with beautiful crystals exudes irresistible charm redolent of the Imperial Russia. The golden bell tower is 123 meters high, making this church the tallest orthodox temple in the world. At the very top of the church there is a statue of an angel holding a cross (an angel is one of the most potent symbols of St Petersburg). The church owns a typical flamenco bells that were purchased by Peter the Great during his voyage in Western Europe in the 17th century. The Tsar was delighted not only by the appearance of the bells but also by the automatic mechanism in them. Regrettably, these bells were burnt down in fire, but in 2001, the Flanders community donated new bells to St Petersburg. It is interesting to note that numerous Flemish communities and municipalities have participated in this donation as well as members of the Belgian Royal Family.
Until 1859, the church of St. Peter and Paul was the main orthodox cathedral of Saint Petersburg. This duty later passed on to the Orthodox Church of St Isaak.
In 1919, the Bolsheviks banned the liturgy to be held in the church and in 1924 the church of St. Peter and Paul was converted into a museum. Nowadays this church is still a museum, but since 2000, there have been religious events organized on a regular basis.
The most important role of this church is that all Russian emperors (the Romanov family) from Peter the Great to Nicolay II have resided here. Only two emperors are missing, Peter II (buried in the Archangel church in Kremlin, Moscow), and Ivan IV (killed and buried in the Fortress of Sliselburg in Leningrad area).
In Peterhof, there is the church of St. Peter and Paul, which was built in the 19th century. These two churches should not be mixed. Our visitors should however notice the huge difference in the architecture between the two buildings.
Ticket price for the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul
Regular price: 450 rub (6 €).
Reduced price: 250 rub (3.5 €).
Working hours of the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul
Every day from 10:00 to 18:00.
Tuesdays from 10:00 to 17:00
Sunday from 11:00 to 18:00h.
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