Friday, April 13, 2012

Russia - Vologda Oblast - St. Sophia Cathedral

St. Sophia Cathedral in Vologda.

Sent by Anastasia, a postcrosser from Moscow, Russia.

This is from Wikipedia : Saint Sophia Cathedral (Russian: Софийский собор) is a Russian Orthodox cathedral, the oldest surviving building in the city of Vologda. It was constructed between 1568 and 1570 under personal supervision of Tsar Ivan the Terrible in the period when Vologda was the capital of the Oprichnina lands in Russia, and completed in 1587. The cathedral is located on the right bank of the Vologda River, just outside the former fortress known as the Vologda Kremlin.

The cathedral was designated by the Russian government as an architectural monument of federal significance.

The cathedral was built in 1568-1570, when Ivan the Terrible introduced the Oprichnina and made Vologda its capital. The model after which the cathedral was built was the Assumption Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin. Ivan personally supervised the construction, and the builders were permitted to use almost unlimited resources. Ivan also, for unknown reason, ordered the cathedral's unusual orientation: its altar apse does not face east as is common in Orthodox Churches but rather northeast. In 1571, Ivan the Terrible unexpectedly left Vologda and returned to Moscow. Soon afterwards, he abolished the Oprichnina and never showed any further interest in Vologda. He even gave an order for the cathedral to be demolished before he left the city, but subsequently withdrew it. By that time, the cathedral was constructed but not yet decorated or consecrated. The cathedral was completed during the reign of Feodor Ivanovich, the son of Ivan the Terrible, and consecrated in 1587.

The frescoes inside the cathedral were made between 1685 and 1687 by a group of painters from Yaroslavl under the direction of Dmitry Plekhanov.

The bell-tower of the cathedral was built in 1869—1870 by Vladimir Schildknecht, the chief architect of Vologda Governorate, in the pseudo-gothic style. The lowest floor remains from the older bell-tower, constructed in 1654—1659.

In Soviet times, the cathedral was shut down and now serves as a museum.

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