St. Isaac’s Cathedral is a Russian Orthodox cathedral located in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is one of the tallest of the Eastern Orthodox churches and the largest in the city. The cathedral is dedicated to St. Isaac of Dalmatia who was the patron saint of Peter the Great of Russia.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral History
St. Isaac’s Cathedral was ordered built in St. Isaac’s Square by the Tsar Alexander I. Several designs were evaluated, which included that of French-born architect Auguste de Montfarrand, whose design was eventually chosen. The cathedral took over 40 years to complete. It was first constructed in 1818 and was eventually done by 1858.
Unfortunately, the cathedral suffered under the soviet government where all the religious trappings it contained were removed. The cathedral was then turned into the Museum of Scientific Atheism. It was only after the fall of communism that the museum was removed and the cathedral resumed worship services. Only the left side chapel of the cathedral observes regular worship services. The main area of the cathedral is only used for services during feast days.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral Features
The exterior of the St. Isaac’s Cathedral takes on a neoclassical design. It expresses a traditional Russian-Byzantine formula of having a Greek-cross ground plan that features a large central dome along with four smaller subsidiary domes. The facade is constructed using gray and pink. The cathedral also features a total of 112 red granite columns with Corinthian capitals that were erected as a single block.
The large relief-covered bronze doors lead to the cathedral’s interiors. One notable feature inside is the sculpted dove that is suspended underneath the dome’s peak that represents the Holy Spirit. Inside, the columns, floors, and pilasters are made from multicolored granite and marble that were gathered from all parts of Russia. The interiors of the cathedral are also filled with a number of sculptures and mosaics.