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History of the Kronstadt naval Cathedral in the name of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker

The main Shrine Of the Russian Navy sea Cathedral in the name of St. Nicholas rises above the island and the sea. Its mighty dome, a symbol of the city of military glory of Kronstadt, is visible from all points of the Neva fairway, from Vasilevsky and Elagin Islands in St. Petersburg. Great and unique is its purpose – to serve as the Cathedral of naval glory of Russia, to collect naval relics, to keep the memory of the sailors-heroes who gave their lives in the name of military duty, in the name of the Motherland. On the commemorative marble plaques on the inner walls of the Cathedral were placed about thousands of names of naval officers who have died on 1695 in 1913 all, without exception, Orthodox and infidels, heroes of Gangut and Tsushima, sailors of all squadrons and battles. Then was left room for new heroes.  

The idea of building a memorial Church in Kronstadt to the Russian Navy appeared a long time ago. The first Church was built here in 1728 under the decree of Peter I dated July 13, 1722. The Wooden Church was consecrated in honor of the Epiphany, and stood more than 100 years. The high bell tower with a spire resembling the spire of Peter and Paul Cathedral was visible from all points of the Neva fairway. Probably, this was the reason that during the construction of the new naval Cathedral one of the main requirements for it was the visibility of the cross from a long distance.

The Epiphany Cathedral committed celebrations every day associated with the celebration of the anniversaries of the great victories of the Russian fleet, as well as important events in the history of the fleet. Peter I commanded that everything in the temple should be reminded of the constant protection of God to those who entrust their lives to the menacing and dangerous elements of the sea. The temple was revered as a monument to the founder of Kronstadt Peter the Great and during its existence gathered in its sacristy many relics related to the history of the Russian fleet.

By the beginning of the XIX century the old Church became dilapidated, and in 1829 a special Commission, together with the architect A. N. By acotinum recognized the need of building a new Church.  However, the Maritime Ministry did not have the necessary funds. The project of the stone Church was approved on January 26, 1849, but remained unfulfilled. The wooden temple behind the decay was dismantled in 1841. In 1862, before the construction of the stone Church, a temporary wooden Church was built on the project of the architect Kudinov, which existed until 1932.  

Attempts to build a stone Epiphany Cathedral was not successful, but the idea of a memorial Church was not forgotten and eventually filled with new content.

The initiator of the construction of the stone naval Cathedral was the chief commander of the Kronstadt port, Vice Admiral N. And. Kaznakov. In March 1897 the collection of donations Began. He proposed to build the Cathedral on the Anchor square. October 15, 1896 N. And. Kaznakov presented the plan and the price for the construction of a large stone Cathedral to the Manager of the Ministry of the Sea. On December 9, 1896 this proposal was approved by Emperor Nicholas II.

Nicholas Marine Cathedral built in 1903-1913 for the design of V. A. Kosyakov and became not only an ornament, but also a high-rise dominant of Kronstadt (building height — 70 m). The laying of the temple took place in the presence of the Imperial family and was consecrated by St. John of Kronstadt. The Cathedral is named in honor of St. Nicholas, the patron Saint of seafarers, and was built at the expense of the Maritime Department, donations of sailors and residents of the city as a memorial Church to the dead sailors.

A year after the lighting of The naval Cathedral began the First world war, and the temple was ready to take in their sacristy new relics and replenish the stone Synod with new names for eternal remembrance.

The October revolution interrupted the natural course of life of the Cathedral.   As a temple, he acted only four years, in 1918, the building was transferred to the Kronstadt Council. In 1929, the Cathedral was converted into a cinema and a sailor's club. For a long time the main premises of the building were occupied by the Baltic fleet theatre.

In 1956, the building of the Cathedral appeared Kronstadt fortress club and a concert hall for 1200 seats with a theater stage.

In 1975, the building of The naval Cathedral was taken under state protection as an architectural monument of local importance, and in the second half of the 1970s, large repair and restoration works were carried out at the expense of the Navy.

In may 1980, on the eve of the 35th anniversary of the victory in the great Patriotic war, the Kronstadt fortress Museum, a branch of the Central Naval Museum, was opened in the Cathedral's choirs and galleries. In seven halls with a total area of 900 square meters were exhibited naval guns, paintings, sculptures, photographs, personal belongings of famous Russian sailors, etc.

By presidential decree of February 20, 1995 Nicholas naval Cathedral received the status of an architectural monument of Federal importance.  Later, on a personal grant from the President of Russia, a project was developed to recreate the memorial plaques of the Kronstadt naval Cathedral with the names of sailors who died for their Homeland and prepared historical and architectural documentation for the complete restoration of the temple.   

On October 24, 2002, the Baltic Construction Company installed a new long-awaited cross- a symbol of Christianity and the Triumph of Orthodoxy on the main dome of the Kronstadt St. Nicholas naval Cathedral.  

In 2003, St. Nicholas Cathedral was transferred to the diocese of St. Petersburg, and soon began restoration work. On November 2, 2005, on the birthday of St. John of Kronstadt, the first divine Liturgy since its closing was celebrated in the Cathedral, which was held by Archpriest Sviatoslav Melnik, appointed rector of the Church.

On March 5, 2009, the first meeting of the public Board of Trustees of the Kronstadt Nicholas naval Cathedral was held under the patronage of the wife of the President of the Russian Federation S. V. Medvedev and with the blessing of his Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia.

On June 1, 2009, due to the beginning of restoration work in the Kronstadt naval Cathedral, the branch of "Kronstadt fortress" stopped receiving visitors. In June 2009, the presence of Museum objects was checked, as well as visual and non-objective digital photographs were taken in the exhibition halls of the Museum branch.

On may 29, 2010, his Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia visited the Naval Cathedral and took part in a meeting of the Church's public trusteeship Council.

On July 31, 2011, the day of the Russian Navy, new bells were lit on the anchor square and the facade of The naval Cathedral in the name of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker was opened after the restoration.

Since July 7, 2013, after the reconstruction of the Kronstadt naval Cathedral is open to the public. The Cathedral can be visited daily from 11.00 to 18.00, except Monday and Tuesday.