October 19, 2022

The Church Where Saint John of Kronstadt Served for 53 Years

The Cathedral of Saint Andrew the First-Called was the main Russian Orthodox cathedral of Kronstadt.

The church was built in 1805–1817 to Andreyan Zakharov's designs to replace a wooden church dating from 1717 whose foundation stone was laid by Peter the Great.

In 1718, the original cathedral was ready for construction and on July 13 it was solemnly consecrated in the presence of the Emperor and his numerous retinue, as well as foreign ambassadors and envoys. It was dedicated to the Apostle Andrew, the patron saint of the Russian Navy.

To build a new Saint Andrew's Church, a place was taken that had previously been allocated for a Lutheran church, while it was strictly forbidden to erect any other buildings on this site.

The Church of the Dormition existed until 1819, when, with the construction of a new stone cathedral, it was dismantled due to dilapidation. The place of the old cathedral and the Dormition Church was marked with granite slabs, which later turned out to be under the embankment of park.

The new building of the stone cathedral was solemnly founded on June 20, 1805 with the participation of Emperor Alexander I and his entourage. After the celebration of the liturgy on June 20, 1805, by Metropolitan Ambrose of St. Petersburg, in the presence of Emperor Alexander Pavlovich, a solemn procession was made from the Dormition Church to the construction site of the new Saint Andrew's Church. The first stone at the laying of the cathedral was laid by Emperor Alexander I himself, for which a silver hammer and spatula were made, which were later kept in the sacristy of the cathedral.

The construction of the cathedral lasted twelve years and during all this time the serviced were performed in the Dormition Church. The consecration of the new stone cathedral was performed on August 26, 1817 by Filaret, Bishop of Revel, Vicar of St. Petersburg (later Metropolitan of Moscow).

Zakharov's elegant design proved influential. It was replicated in Izhevsk (see Alexander Nevsky Cathedral) and in Yekaterinoslav (see Transfiguration Cathedral), among other cities of Imperial Russia.

In 1853-1855, additions were made to the cathedral, as a result of which it acquired a cruciform shape.

Saint John of Kronstadt served in this church from 1855 to 1908. In 1873, S. F. Verkhovtsev made vestments for the main altar. In 1874, according to the design of the architect Windelbrandt, the cathedral was expanded in the northern and southern directions and began to take the form of an elongated cross. After this restructuring, the cathedral began to accommodate about 1000 parishioners.

The bell tower of the cathedral had ten bells, the oldest one was cast by master Konstantin Glazov in 1752. Among the attractions of the cathedral were a medallion of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called, carved from ivory personally by Emperor Peter the Great, and a silver spatula and a hammer that Emperor Alexander I used at the laying of the foundation ceremony.

The cathedral was destroyed in 1932. Later, at this place, a monument to Lenin was erected. The local administration supports the hopes of parishioners for the reconstruction of the cathedral. In its place is a memorial sign with the inscription:

"Let this stone cry out to our hearts for the restoration of the desecrated shrine."