The Transfiguration Cathedral is an Eastern Orthodox cathedral very popular among locals.
Also known as The Cathedral of the Lord's Transfiguration of all the Guards, this elegant yellow and white baroque cathedral is situated on Transfiguration Square, conveniently located near Liteyny Prospekt and the Chernyshevskaya Metro Subway Station.
Four architects of the Imperial era had a hand in its design, beginning with Mikhail Zemstov, whose untimely death resulted in Antonio Trezzini taking the lead with help from Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The undertaking, from construction to consecration, was completed in 1754. When it was nearly destroyed by fire in 1825, Vasily Stasov was hired to build a new church on the site.
There is no need to say that the Transfiguration Cathedral is very beautiful from the outside and even more inside. There are four massive columns in the front, holding the pediment and three black domes behind, one central bigger and two smaller on the sides. In one of the towers, there is the British-made clock. The Interior is just wonderful, with arched vaults, ceiling painted with wonderful frescoes, the gorgeous chandelier, the great iconostasis, and the choir.
Today, the cathedral's beautiful interior holds a treasured and revered image of Christ, The Savior, along with The Virgin, placed in front of the iconostasis. The church choir is known for being one of the best in the city, so come in the morning at 10:00 am and share the joy of singing and worshipping in what is known as, “a place of warmth, kindness, and peace.”
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The story of The Transfiguration Cathedral begins on June 9th, 1743, when Empress Elizabeth ordered a cathedral be built on the remains of old barracks to honor the Preobrazhensky Grenadier regiment of the Imperial Guard who aided her ascension to the throne.
On August 16, 1754, the eve of the holy day of the Transfiguration of Christ, Archbishop Sylvester gave a ceremonial blessing with Elizabeth in attendance. On August 8, 1825, when the fire struck, many of the sacred objects were spared and the church was quickly restored.
In 1830, Stasov went on to design a wrought iron fence around the church square made of Turkish canons that were taken as spoils of war. Nowadays you can still spot in the beautiful garden outside the Cathedral, an impressive array of cannons used by this regiment to force back the Turks at Varna.
The canons stand upright, secured in granite foundations and embellished with heavy cross chains and double-headed golden eagles. Each one is engraved with a Tughra, the calligraphic symbol of the defeated Ottoman Empire.
It is good to know that the cathedral formed a charitable society offering a children's shelter, cafeteria and school and even during the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, church services continued as normal. During the Siege of Leningrad from 1941 to 1944, it's a bunker, capable of holding 500 people, was used to provide first aid and food to those in need.
The unique history of this cathedral
also shows, on record, that it is the only church in St. Petersburg that
has never ceased the practice of worship throughout time. Also, you should know that this Neo-Classical building houses two great icons, one of them is regarded as the main icon of the Romanov Dynasty, so a unique piece of the art Russian collection.
There is no entry fee to the cathedral as it is a functioning church.
Located near the Chernyshevskaya Metro Subway Station. Chernyshevskaya is a stop on the Kirovsko-Vyborgskaya Metro Line and the most efficient means of in-city transportation to this attraction.
Address: 1, Preobrazhenskaya Ploshchad
Open: Daily 8 am to 8 pm
Telephone: +7 (812) 272-3662
Accessibility note: The church is wheelchair accessible
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