CHURCH OF THE ASSUMPTION OF ST. MARY
St. Petersburg, Russia
The Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the forgotten churches of St. Petersburg. It stands on the bank of the Neva some way from the town centre and although often seen by passing coach tours it is rarely stopped at.
It dates from around 1730 but was rebuilt on numerous occasions and from 1766 until 1874 was owned by the Pskov-Pechersk Dormition Monastery. In 1874 it was bought by the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.
The church which stands today dates from 1895. It was the first church in St. Petersburg whose domes were covered with aluminium. Church and the adjacent monastery were completed by 1900 and the interiors by around 1903. Like many churches in St. Petersburg, it was just about complete by the time of the Russian Revolution.
In 1935 the Soviets closed the church and the monks were arrested. For many years the church was used as a warehouse and then, in 1956, it was converted into Leningrad’s first artificial ice rink. The frescoes were whitewashed and then painted over.
In 1991 the buildings were returned to the Russian Orthodox Church and restoration was begun. The iconostasis was complete by 2003 and many of the original frescoes were painstakingly uncovered from Soviet era painting. Today work is still continuing on the exterior of the Church, but it is finally returning to its former glory.Photo - Andrew J. Müller
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