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Feodorovsky Imperial Cathedral

The Fyodorovsky Cathedral was constructed simultaneously with the establishment of the temporary church in the battalion house. On August 20, 1909 the corner stone of the cathedral was laid by Tsar Nickolas in a gala service performed by Feophan, Bishop of Yamburg and Rector of the St.Petersburg Ecclesiastical Academy. The construction of the cathedral was supervised by a special Construction Committee with General Komarov at the head. He was the Commander of the Composite Regiment. Other members of the Committee were Colonel Perepelovsky, Captain Sherekhovsky, Captain Loman, Junior Captain Andreyev, Junior Cossack Captain Tuskayev, clerk Melkov. The original designs for the cathedral were made by Professor of Architecture Pomerantsev.

However, soon after the construction of the foundation had been started, the original design for the building by architect Pomerantsev was criticized and new ideas concerning the church’s architecture and location were discussed. It was decided that it was more appropriate that the new cathedral in the Tsar’s residence should imitate the style of the Annunciation Church in Moscow on the Kremlin grounds which had been the personal home church of the first Romanovs. The contract with Pomerantsev was cancelled and architect Pokrovsky was instructed to create a new design. While working on the details of the design, Pokrovsky followed the Tsar’s instructions and used the Annunciation Church in Moscow as it looked in 1484 as his model.The vast foundation laid by Pomerantsev made it possible to design a number of minor low buildings for the church-porches, chapels, entrances, the sacristy, etc. on it as according to Pokrovsky’s design, the church itself occupied a smaller place.

Although it was based on an earlier model, Pokrovsky’s design was an original work of art that testified to his deep knowledge of the history of fucntion of medieval Russian architecture. Pokrovsky was famous for his buildings in this style. His design was approved on August 1, 1910 and Pokrovsky was appointed the supervisor and manager of the construction. The upper church was finished by the end of summer in 1912 and was dedicated on August 20th. Construction had taken three years. The opening ceremony was attended by clerics from all of Russia’s most famous monasteries with the entire Romanov family and Imperial court was in attendance. Work contiunued on other parts of the church and the crypt was constructed under the direction of Maximov who was Pokrovsky’s assistant and was completed shortly thereafter in November 1912.

The upper church was dedicated to the the ikon of theFyodorov Mother of God and also had a chapel dedicated to the sainted Metropolitan of Moscow, Saint Aleksey. The dedication to the ikon of the Fyodorov Mother of God was selected because the first Romanov Tsar, Mikhail, was blessed for the throne in the Ipatyevsky Monastery of Kostroma in 1613 in front of this ikon. When the tsar’s family stayed in Tsarskoye Selo the cathedral was their parish and they invariably visited it on Sundays and on all other special church services during the week. The upper church was open to the public, but the public was only admitted to the lower church by special request.

When the building of cathedral was completed in 1912 decoration of the interior was begun shortly according to Pokrovsky’s design. By Nicholas’s II order the interior decoration was to be copied from the Church of Ivan the Baptist in Yaroslavl and the Resurrection Church in the Rostov Kremlin. So a great number of coloured photographs, copies of paintings, etc. of these churches along with designs for the interior of the cathedral were sent to the Tsar for study. He approved of all of them without change. The paintings for the crypt church were done by painters Tsherbakov, Pashkov and Vasnetsov who was also the author of the designs for the church vestments. Painter Yemelianov started decoration of the upper church but the work had to be stopped because the walls were still damp from construction and World War I had just begun. (Alexander Palace Time Machine Source)

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