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Znamensky Orthodox Church
The Church of Theophany on Gutuevsky Island
Saint-Petersburg is a World famous city. It is famous for its history - “City of three revolutions”, for white nights, drawbridges, for its architecture. Temples of Saint-Petersburg play a great role both in history and architecture. One of the first buildings in the city was Peter and Paul Cathedral. Most of Romanovs were buried here. After this, Saint-Petersburg became the centre of Temple building.
The Saint-Petersburg temples represent the city as a multicultural one and as the sample of tolerance. People of great number of nationalities and religions lived here since its foundation.
The city changed greatly in the XX century. Because of revolution and following Soviet rule, and also Grand Patriotic War, about thrty churches have been destroyed, many were reconstructed. The main purpose of my work is to restore the image of Saint-Petersburg of the beginning of the XX century. The second main purpose is to represent the way of life in the city, the attitude to churches, to religion. The events that lead to the ideas of building a church or a temple seem interesting as well. And the last, but not the least, - to get acquainted with pieces of architectural art, to show the traditions of temple building in Saint-Petersburg. Different architectural styles are represented in this work.
The temples below are not the most famous ones in Saint-Petersburg. But they have very reach history and they are in the shade of World famous St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Church of Resurection, Peter and Paul Cathedral. The temples below are worth one’s attention.
The Buddist Temple
There is a tall building on 91, Primorsky prospect. It attracts attention to its proportions and symbolism. It impresses with its unusual forms, walls like fortress ones, misterious symbols on the Eastern facade. The grey monolith of its Nothern wall towers the three-storeyed rectangular building. The Southern facade is decorated with a four-pillared portico. Granite facing, glazed bricks and guilded components af decoration forms the unique image of the building. It combines the elegant beauty of European modern style and severe beauty of Tibet architecture. This is the Buddist Temple.
The history of constructing the Temple in Saint-Petersburg is very complicated.
On March, 16 in 1909 Agvan Dorghiev bought a ground area in “Old Village” in order to erect there the Temple. But many organizations like “The Union of Russian People”, bureaucrats were against of it. That goes without saying, The Russian Orthodox Church was against too. But Dorghiev showed all his diplomatic skills, and on the 30st of September, 1909 Nicolas II allowed the building of First Buddist Temple in Saint-Petersburg. At the end of April the building started.
The works were produced under control of a special building comitee, consisting of the academicians V.V. Radlov, S.F. Oldenburg, prince A.A. Ukhtomsky, researches of the Far East V.L. Kotvich, A.D. Rudnev, F.I. Scherbatsky, painters N.K. Rerikh, V.P. Shnayder.
The author of the very first project was an engeneer N.M. Berezovsky. Then G.V. Baranovsky continued Berezovsky’s work . Agvan Dorghiev participated in this, as well.
The building works started under supervision of Baranovsky and they were procuced very fast. In spite of it , they turned out to be organized unsucsessfully, because the organizers had poor experience of such kind of work. Because of financial problems, Dorzhiev was to employ very poor bricklayers from Kostroma. They did not even know, what they were doing. Construction materials were stolen frequently. Besides, some bills from purveyor organizations were not paid in time. It all led to conflict between the architect Baranovsky and Building Comitee. As a result, Baranovsky left this project, and N.K. Rerikh, who projected a wooden Buddist Temple in Irkutsk uyezd, was invited.
The only Temple in Russia that is equal to the samples of Tibet canon is Saint-Petersburg Temple. The building of the temple is intended for daily services, and at the same time, it is a place where lamas gather together and hold the lessons.
The main entrance opens on the South. In the Southern part of dugan there is the principle room for clergy (Large Hall for Te Deum), that is illuminated through overhead floor (“Sun flashlighter”). The Nothern part of Dugan - Gonkan is considered to be the most sacred - here is the altar with sculpture of Big Buddha. The throne of the principal lama is located opposite the altar. The seats for common lamas are installed between the columns, along the Temple. All the elements of the Buddist symbolysm were made in Tibet and fifted to Petrograd Temple in 1915.
One can see elements of European architecture, used here. The Eastern portotypes were essentially reorientated in the European modern style. It is the lay-out of the hall and stairwell. Central heating was installed in the Southern part of the Temple because of the peculiarities of Nothern climate. Nothern modern style was the reason to choose different sorts of coarsely-splitted granite, facing brick, glazed tile for coating the building. It gave classical Petersburg look. High-coloured stained-glass windows of plafond, the barrier of light-embrasure, adorned with the symbols of Buddism, and also high-coloured tile on the floor is also impact of modern style.
A low spire (that has the same function as the at the Orthodox Church) from guilded copper - Ganchzhirra (full of treasure, the Sanscrit language) looks like a vase. It was traditionnaly installed on the roof of the Gonkan. In 1939 Ganchzhirra was dismantled. The figures of “Victorious Stndard” were installed at the corners of the roofs. During the consecration they were filled-in with the sacred texts. The roof of the portico was adorned with guilded eight-radius “Weel of Studies” and two deers - symbols of the first Buddha’s sermon. Deer and doe symbolyze beings of both sexes, who is heeding to the Teaching “with clean heart of gentle deers”. Guilded disks and magic mirrors were installed in the frieze of the Temple in order to frighten the evil forces away.
The construction finished in 1913, and on the 21st of Febraury the first service, devoted to three hundred years Jubilee of Romanovs family was held. But the works dealing with the interior continued. A very famous wood-carver Rinchin Zankhatov, painter Budaev and the expert on the Tibet culture GilYk-Chamzo Tsybakov made a contribution to the Temple.
The ceremonial consecration was held on the 10th of August, 1915.
The Temple meant much for Buddism in Europe. The interest towards the valueables of Buddism increased much. Many people were entirely interested in contacts with live traditions of Gelugpa, which was represented by the lamas of Petrograd Temple.
In 1919 the first Buddist exhibition was held here. However, this year the Temple was plundered in a very barbarous way. Almost all valueables were stolen - guilded bronze, silver and copper statues, vases and cups, chinese brocade draperies, furs… The statue of Big Buddha was broken, because the robbers were looking for treasures. They also destroyed the library, and all the documents dealinf with relationships with England, China, Tibet and Russia, that were collected by Dorzhiev, dissapeared. But Dorzhiev showed remarkable will and intellect anв managed to begin restoration works, in spite of financial difficulties, caused by revolution.
In 1935, in Leningrad the persecution towards Buddism started. In Novenber, 1937 eighty-years old Dorzhiev was arrested. He died in January, at the prison in Ulan-Ude. After that The Buddist Temple was closed, and different state offices filled its building.
During the World War II a broadcasting station was located in the former Temple. Metal cable was used as the antenna - one end was hooked to a tractor, which was situated at the backyard, and other was attached to a dirigible. Grenades were produced in the cellar. At the same time it served as the lateral guidance station for Soviet planes.. After that, until 1960, this radio station served to interference induction on the Western radio channels.
On the 25st of November, 1968 the building was declared to be a “memorial of local meaning”. This fact, however, had no impact on the building. In the 1980-s the city principlals decided to give it to the State Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism. But it did not happen, as well.
1st, July 1989 a group of twenty people asked for registration of Buddism Community. Their application was allowed, and later, in 1990 the Building of the Buddist Temple was returned to believers.
, Nowdays the Temple is open, but a lot of work should be done to restorate it.
Today Saint-Petersburg Cathedral Mosque is one of the largest in Europe. It can recieve more than five million believers, that is very important for Saint-Petersburg, where thousands of Moslem live.
The conquest of the Middle Asia, forming the Great Cotton Route, which Russian textile industry needed in, and growing interest to the Eastern culture preceded the construction of the Mosque.
The muslim community in Saint-Petersburg contained about eight thousand people, an in November, 1905 believers had formed the building comitee, consisting of twenty Moslems - merchants, military officers, publicians. Writer and theologian A. Bayazitov the chairman of the comitee.
The comitee bought a site at the corner of Kronverksy and Konny avenues. However, this site turned out to be too small. The Michrab should be opened to Mekka, e.g. to the South. It meant, to back facade of the neighbouring house. Besides, the Mosques need a special building for ablution.
That is why the building comitee decided to hold a competition for architects in order to choose the best project. The conditions foк the competition were: to use the Eastern style, to use only natural stones for facing, to construct the dome. The 6mosque should contain one or two minarets. Following to the muslim requirements, the Michrab should be opened to the South. Images of living being were not allowed in the interior. In compliance with town-planning purposes forming the “Red Line” for building-up, it was recommended to put the future Mosque as close by the Kronverksky avenue, as possible.
- .V. Vasiliev won the competition. The Mosque was projected following in compliance with the samples of Samarkand architecture. Characteristic feature of religious buildings in the East is that the roof is “hidden” behind small parapets. In Saint-Petersburg, because of its climate, it required a special approach to the water collection system and the roof shape.
The ceremony of laying was held on the 10st of Febraury, 1910. Later this year, in May preparatory facing work, supervised by the German architect G.-F. Kann, started.
Kann rented two mineral-field in Finland, where rare sorts of granite and light-grey gneiss were mined.
On the 21st of Febraury the first service, dedicated to the Jubilee of Romanovs’ family was held, in spite of the building was not finished yet.
During the Soviet rule the Mosque was damaged badly. In 1924-1928 the B9ig Carpet, four bronze lamps, most of furniture were withdrawed or stolen. In 1930-s, 1950-s, 1970-s the unique construction of the roof was reconstructed many times. The original system of water collection was re-made. Because of this, the wall tectonics was badly modified. It led to the destroying of granite and majolik incrustrations. In 1984 scaffolding was installed to replace the facing. It was off in 1996, when unique granite and majolik facing was replaced by technical porcelain. So, the look of the old building was changed, and now it deffers greately from what Vasiliev had constructed.
Armenian Cathedral of Saint Catherine
The First Armenian settlers in Saint-Petersburg appeared immediately after the foundation of the city. Mostly, they were merchants and craftsmen. Started at that time, Armenian community in Saint-Petersburg is still growing.
On the 2nd of May, 1770 Catherine the Great solved a query of I.I. Lazarev (1735-1801), who ask for a site for a church, and she gifted an area, in the Nothern part of Nevsky avenue. The community started wrip-round.
The project was prepared by famous architect Felten (1735 - 1801), and after eight- year work the new well-propotioned church, opposite future Merchant Yard, was built.
This graceful building was constructed in early Russian classicism. Buildings of austere style outstand bright building of the church. The church takes central place in the ansamble. It is crowned with the elegant dome. All the elements were made proportionally and refindly. The facade is decorated with portico. On its pediment one can see a sculpture relief. The plot is unusual: Katolikos Grigor Enlighteneer is christening Trdat III ( Armenia was the first country, that established Christianity as a state religion - in 301 Trdat III was christened and ordered Grigor to christen the country)
Spacious and well-lighted interior attracts attention to the lines of the dome, curved arches, columns. The interior is adorned with paintings, moulded cornices, coulored marble. Felten and Khristinek are the authors of the interior.
The 18th Febraury, 1780 Ovsep Argutyan had consecrated the Cathedral of Saint Catherine. In 1865 the bells were installed into the belfry.
There are two houses belonging to the Church ansamble. Their facades are opened to Nevsky Avenue. The Eastern Wing (42, Nevsky Avenue) was being built simalteniously with the Cathedral. The author is Felten. It was finished in 1777, and the elergy of a parish was to be hold there. A two-storeyed building of austere style sucsessfully completed Nevsky Avenue. In 1835 - 1837 the building was re-built by A.I. Melnikov, who added the third floor to the building. The second house (Western Wing) was built in 1794 - 1798. Most likely, the architect was E.T. Sokolov. The facade of the Western wing is like the Eastern one, but bas-relief was added to it.
Both houses have saved their interiors. Besides, they are samples of dwelling houses of the end of the XVIII - the beginning of XIX centuries. These two buildings form a cramped backyard, frame the church and do not distract one’s attention from the church. Many famous people, such as great Russian poet Tyutchev and outstanding polititian Speransky lived here.
At the end af 1920-s the Cathedral was closed. It was then used as a storehouse, offices, workshop. It was ravaged and damaged badly. During the Soviet rule the church was devided into two storeys.
The Cathedral was returned to the Armenian community in 1992. The restoration works lasted eight years, and in 2000 the restored Cathedral was consecrated by Alexy II and Armyan Garegin II.
- owdays the Cathedral is open for believers. A small exposition is going to be opened in order to tell everybody about people, who dealt with the Cathedral, the Cathedral itself, the history of Russian-Armenian relationships.
The Lutheran Church
After Peter the Great had founded Saint-Petersburg, many Germans and Dutch moved here. They lived on the Admiralty Island. It was often called “the German Sloboda”. They formed the Lutheran parish. Firstly believers gathered in the house of the vice-admiral Kornely Kruice (at that time it was where the Winter Palace is located now)
By 1719 the old building was not able to recieve all the believers, and services were moved to a new Kruice’s house. It was situated at the corner of Nevsky Avenue and Moyka embankment. But it was only temporary solution. The believers decided to build a new stone Church. In order to wrip-round, customs for incoming ships were increased till five roubles per ship.
In 1727 the Russian emperor Peter II gifted a big site on the Nevsky Avenue, between Bol’shaya Konyushennaya and Malaya Konyushennaya Streets. The new church of Saint Peter was built in 1730, and on the 14st of June it was consecrated. Pastor Naccius lead the first service.
The Russian emperors liked this church. Anna Ioannovna gifted it money for organ, Catherine the Great gifted three thousand roubles, her son, Paul I - one thousand. Even Nicolas I helped it.
This church served about a century, until in 1832 the competition for the new project was announced. A.P. Bryullov won it, and the new church was erected at the same place, between two houses, which facades were opened to Nevsky Avenue. The work was finished in 1838.
This church was opened for century as well. In fact, it stopped services in December, 1937. It was officially closed on the 2nd of March, 1938, following to the order of the Soviet principals.
After its closing, all the decorations that had a value were moved to the State Hermitage. Much was stolen, by all means. The largest organ in the city, that was made by “Walker” company dissapeared.
In 1958 Leningrad principals decided to invert the church into a swimming-pool.
It led to reconstruction of the unique interior, death of painting remainders and damaging the wall tectonics.
During many years the believers had no church. Only in 1992 , on the 1st of July Petrosovet issued a resolution about the church. According to this resolution, the building should be delievered to the Lutheran community of Saint-Petersburg. On the 31st of October pastors Frank Lotikhius and Karl Kalnin led the service.
In 1992 the church was in a very bad condition. Russians and German specialists of architecture elaborated a plan of the restoration works. According to this plan, in the first stage of the work, an inserted floor should be installed over the pool. It should prevent the walls from verticality deviation...
On the 16th of September, 1997 the consecration of the church was made. Nowdays it is the Lutheran Cathedral of Saint-Petersburg.
Roman-Catholic Cathedral of Sait Catherine
Saint-Petersburg Catholic community contained many peoples - French , Italians, Polish and others. The Catholic community was one of the biggest ones in Saint-Petersburg at that time, and in 1738 it was gifted a site by the Russian empress Anna Ioannovna. In 1739 P. A. Trezini prepared a project of the stone church and two houses, which facades should be opened to Nevsky Avenue. This ansamble was projected on baroque style. The Trezini’s project was not realized. But the idea of connecting two houses with the church with help of two small arches was used in the future project.
In 1761 - 1762 Vallin de la Moth prepared a new project. According to it, the composition of the church was like a triumphal arch with a sculptural group at the top and two belfries. The process started in 1763, but it was broken off in the middle of 1760-s. In 1779 A. Rinaldi continued the work. He rejected the sculpture and belfries and edited the facade - it became more austere. After Rinaldi had left Russia, the work was finished by I. Minchaki.
The building represents Latin cross. In the centre of the principal facade there is a huge arch with two columns. The unity of the order and the wall, the efficient lines are the showings of the early classicism. Curvilinear outlines of window fingerplates and dynamic statues of the Evangelists are the showings of baroque style. “Rinaldi’s flower” on the facade - “Rinaldi’s signature” adornes the front of the building.
Columns composit order pilasters form the indside space. The interior was worked on by many painters and sculptor. The principal painter was D. Valeriani, the principal sculptor, who made the rekief, - K. Albani. The organ hall was famous for its acoustics. In 1897 the new mural was created by G.D. Grimm and new stained-glass windows were installed by the Rigian masters.
The last Polish king - Stanislav Avgust Ponyatovsky was buried here. In 1858 the famous architect, the creator of Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, O. Monferrand was read the burial service in this church.
The Cathedral was closed in 1938. After that the direction of the museum of Religion and Ateism History was based here. In 1970 the restoration work started - in order to allocate aorgan philarmonic hall in this building. But in 1984 fire destroyed all the interior . The Cathedral was returned to Roman-Catholic Religious Communion. Now the restoration is continued. The area in the front of the building is often called Saint-Petersburg Mon - Martre because it is a place, where the modern painters display and sale their works.
The church owes the icon of the Holy Blessed Virgin its name. It was painted in the XII century and for a long time was kept in one of the side-altars of Znamensky Church.
The church was erected in 1794 - 1804 by architect F. I. Demertsov, who had constructed Saint Sergius’ Cathedral on Liteiny Avenue before. The building was carried out in classisism style.
The elegant outline of the building, situated on Znamensky Square (Nevsky Avenue), was crowned with five helmet-shaped domes. The central dome was a little bit more thin and tall. The facades were incrustrated with dummy joints.
Interior was especially sucsessful Demertsov’s job. The space under the domes was surrounded by the Corinthian order collanade. It outlined the central nave. The colanade flew together with the very rich icon stand. Thus, Demertsov did not break one of the main rules of the orthodox church building, ran risks by increasing the size of the side domes, almost till the size of the central one. The attempt was sucsessful.
In 1809 the cast-iron fenece was installed round the church. After that, two small chapels were built nearby the church. They were located on the line of Nevsky Avenue.
The fortune of this church is even more tragical then many of other temples. That goes without saying, it was closed after revolution. In 1940 it was destroyed. After the World War II, on its former place the new pavilion of Ploshad’ Vosstaniya metro station was erected. Nowdays it is still functioning.
The Greek Church of Saint Demetrius Salona
The Greek Church was built on the embankment of Ligovsky Canal (that was covered up with earth later) between the 4th and the 5th Christmas Streets (now - 4th and 5th Sovetskaya Streets).
Most of funds for the building were endowed by the Greek community in Saint-Petersburg. But it was not enough, and then Greek merchant Dmitrius Benardaki decided to build the church of his patron Saint with his own money. Money, that were wripped-round by the community were gifted to the Russian mission in Athens.
The church was founded on the 25th of May, 1861. The architect was R.I. Kuz’min. He represented the samples of early Byzantinesque architectural motifs.
The Building was cross-shaped. The vast dome towered it. Nearby the Eastern facade there were two additional buildings - for deacon and vestry. There was also a thick vestibule . A flat pavilion of bell tower, that was built over it was crowned with the pediment with the Cross.
Forty windows make the inside space well-enlighted. The walls were faced with shining ornaments - golden tracery on the silver background, or silver tracery on high-coloured background. The nutwood icon stand consist of two stages. The icons were created with oily paints on the golden-coloured background. They were delievered from Greece. Many of them were very old. The wooden apsises were fenced in metal balustrade. The floor was paved with white marble.
The church was consecrated in 1866. The services were held only in Greek language. The first parishioneers were Greek buisnesmen, emigrants. Many of them were sucsessful during the New Economic Policy.
In January 1939 the church was closed and delievered to local functionaries. It was destroyed in 1961. Several years later Large Concert October Hall was erected here. Nowdays only poem of Iosif Brodsky and Greek avenue remind about the Greek church and those Greeks who lived in this area.
The Church of Theophany on Gutuevsky Island
The wonderful rescue of the Russian emperor Alexander III in October, 1888 after the train crash lead to build gave a cause to build churches to commemorate this event. Custom and port officers, who lived Gutuevsky Island were no exeption.
It was decided to build a large wooden church at first. Engineer S.I. Andreev had already prepared its project when a factory-owner I. A. Voronin made a hundred thousand rouble donation in order to construct a stone church. After this a young architect Vasily Kosyakov headed the construction work. It took him only one month to prepare a new brilliant project.
The Kosyakov’s project was the sample of golden age of “Russian style” in church architecture of the end of XIX century. It kept the canon of the “ship” type Orthodox Church. The building is elongated from West to East and consists of vestibule, belfry, refectory, the principal altar with the chapel and two symmetrically located altar-sides.
The building was finished in 1897. On the 29th of April, 1899 it was consecrated by metropolitan Antony and confessor Ioann Kronshtadsky.
The church is well open from Obvodny canal, Ekateringofka river, nearby islands. Sucsessful proportions of the main cupola and four small cupolas form an expressive silhouette. The characteristic features of this type of buildings are open wall brickwork with compass brick tracery, glazed tiles, majolica, cornices. The entry is framed with coupled arches, elegant helmet-shaped dome makes the building a piece of architectural art.
The interior is rather wide and it decorated well. A low, one-deck faience icon stand was made by a Moscow company of M.A. Kuznetsov. Its colour was caontrasting with guilded bronze holy gates. The icons were painted by A. M.
Postnikov. Wall-paintings of Christ were painted by A. S. Slavtsov.
- . M. Budakov made the ornaments. The carving was made in P. S. Abrosimov’s workshop: the author of outside mosaic was A. Frolov. In 1913 the altar was adorned with marble and icons by Slavtsov. There was a two-deck gallery at the Western wall. All the walls inside were filled with paintings.
In 1935 the church was closed. After the closing the building was occupied with a vegetable store, soap factory, stores of “Frunzensky” department store. The motor-transport depot located at the nearby area. During Soviet rule most of the interior elements were lost - unique carpet paintings, pier paintings, mosaics, fience icon stand, brickwork of altar-sides, church plate and other details. During World War II the fire happened in the church. By the end of XX century only reeky disfigured framework survived.
In 1992 the church was returned to believers. The first service was held on January, 19. Since that moment the services are held regulary. After the church return, the restoration work started. By the moment, interior, windows and paintings have been restored partially. The helmet-shaped dome was re-guilded. But the church lacks funding, and the work moves rather slowly.
The temples of six different religions and streams were represented in the work. To my mind, the work gives the insight of people who lived in the city. As it turned out, there are thousands of people who are Buddhists, Moslem in Saint - Petersburg - European city.
The work also showes well different styles of architecture - classicism, baroque, Byzantan and Russian style of church architecture.
In my view, one can concieve the image of Saint - Petersburg, that has been changed greatly - metro pavilion instead of Znamensky church, October hall instead of the Greek church.
I hope that my work helps to change the attitude to people of another religion and nationality, to change the attitude to the memorials of architecture, that Saint-Petersburg is famous for.
The last, but not the least, the work gets one acquainted with the churches and temples that have a reach and interesting history, but are not well-known among the citizens and tourists. Some buildings, like the largest in Europe Buddhist temple, or the Mosque can attract intourists’ attention in future.
1. Portico (page 3) - a kind of porch fronted with columns , often at the entrance of a building - портик
2. Frieze (page 5) - that part of the entablature of a column which is between the architrave and cornice - фриза
3. Minaret (page 7) - the slender, lofty turret or a tower, adjacent to a mosque, usually with one or more balconies, used by a muzzin for summoning Moslems - минарет
4. Pediment (page 9) - a low triangular part resembling a gable, crowning the front of the buildings - фронтон
5. Relief (page 9) - the projection of promunence of a figure above or beyond the ground or plane - рельеф
6. Vestry (page 16) - a room in a church building where vestments and the paraphernalia of worship are kept, a room used as a chapel or for meetings - ризница
7. Deacon - (page 16) - a lay church official or subordinate minister - дьякон
8. Vestibule (page 16) - a passage between outer door and the interior of a building - притвор
9. Apsis, apse (page 16) - semicircular or rectangular projection - апсида
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