Church on Spilled Blood - Table of Contents ............... Architecture Around the World

Exterior - The Church on Spilled Blood
A.K.A.  as the Church of Our Savior on Blood and the Church of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
St. Petersburg
, Russia

Name explanation: This Russian Byzantine Revival style church was built on the spot where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in March 1881 by a group of revolutionaries who threw a bomb at his royal carriage.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian Byzantine architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The decision was taken to build a church on the spot where the Emperor was mortally wounded. The church was built between 1883 and 1907 and was officially called the Resurrection of Christ Church (a.k.a. The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood ).

The construction of the church was almost entirely funded by the Imperial family and thousands of private donators.

Both the interior and exterior of the church is decorated with incredibly detailed mosaics, designed and created by the most prominent Russian artists of the day (V.M. Vasnetsov, M.V. Nesterov and M.A. Vrubel). Interestingly, despite the church’s very obviously Russian aspect, its principle architect, A. Parland, was not even Russian by birth.

The church was closed for services in the 1930s, when the Bolsheviks went on an offensive against religion and destroyed churches all over the country. It remained closed and under restoration for over 30 years and was finally re-opened in 1997 in all its dazzling former glory.

The church is prominently situated along the Griboedov (Catherine) Canal. The section of street where the assassination took place was enclosed within the walls of the church, and part of the canal filled to allow the street to pass around the building.

Designed by the Church architect Alfred Parland (1842-1919) in the Art Nouveau style.

Basic plan: open petals of an immortelle flower. famous with its long-lasting ("immortal") beauty since it could maintain its form and color when it is dried. 
Five cupolas with onion-shaped domes: central cupola capping a tent roof and surrounded by four cupolas.
two-story bell tower (at far left, west)  stands on spot where the emperor was assassinated.  In order to erect it, the body of the church was extended beyond the embankment and thus juts into the canal. As a result, the building does not have the usual central entrance.

Center: Enameled tile tent roof.
Three tile onion domes.
Gilded finials top the domes.

The domes are covered with gilded or enameled sheets of brass.

Gilded brass onion-shaped domes

Center: Enameled brass  onion-shaped dome

Gilded brass onion-shaped dome

Gilded brass onion-shaped dome

Resurrection mosaic in central arched gable of the north facade designed by Mikhail Nestorov.

Note 6-winged Seraphim angels

Double-headed eagle is Russia's official symbol.

Walls are faced with red-brown and glazed variegated Siegersdorf brick.

Portico with gilded vergeboards.

The Bearing of the Cross in the north arched gable of the north-west portico designed by Viktor Vasnetsov.

Gilded cresting.  Variegated tiles.

Photos and their arrangement 2010 Chuck LaChiusa
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