Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Catherine, Saint Petersburg

St. Catherine's Church (Armenian: Սանկտ Պետերբուրգի Սուրբ Կատարինե եկեղեցի) is a church of the Armenian Apostolic Church in St. Petersburg, which is an architectural monument.

Full name: Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Catherine.

The church is located in the center of St. Petersburg on Nevsky Prospekt - one of the most visited and beautiful streets of the city.

The first Armenian merchants and artisans appeared on the banks of the Neva River in 1710 - after the founding of the city, when Peter I gave the go-ahead to the request of representatives of Armenian trading houses to allow the latter to trade with German lands directly from St. Petersburg.

Thus, Armenian merchants and merchants began to play a significant role in the history of the city, as they built new trade routes, bringing Russia to the European market, and bringing European goods to Russia. As a result, an Armenian community was formed, the heads of which were representatives of the famous Lazarev family. After that, Armenian churches were built in the city.

One of the first Armenian churches in St. Petersburg was the church of St. Catherine, consecrated in the name of the Great Martyr Catherine-the heavenly patroness of the Empress, since the construction took place during the reign of the empress, and it was she who in 1770 allocated a good plot of land in the center of the city for the construction of the shrine.

So, in 1771-1779, the Armenian Apostolic church of St. Catherine was built on Nevsky Prospekt, according to the project of the largest architect of St. Petersburg - Yuri Matveevich Felten, around which an ensemble of buildings of the Armenian community was later formed.

The new church became the center of the Armenians of St. Petersburg, and the first Armenian printing house (1780) and the Armenian school (1800) were founded there. In 1793, another Armenian church of the Holy Resurrection was consecrated on Vasilievsky Island, next to which an Armenian cemetery was opened (the church still exists today).

Subsequently, work was carried out on the restoration of the Church of St. Catherine. In 1794-1797, a gate was erected in front of the church, on which a cast-iron grating was installed in 1858; in 1865, the original tower of the church was turned into a bell tower.

In 1915, fragments of the relics of the Apostle Thaddeus and St. Gregory the Illuminator were transferred from the sacristy of the Great Church of the Winter Palace to the Armenian Church.

In May 1930, the church was closed. In 1990, the Armenian community requested the return of the shrine and on March 14, 1993, the first divine service was held within the walls of the church. The restoration of the building was carried out. The full consecration of the temple was carried out on July 12, 2000; on the same day from The relics of St. Gregory were returned to the Hermitage to the community.

The small building of the Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Catherine looks elegant and corresponds to the grandeur of the center of St. Petersburg.

The style of the church is made in the traditions of early Russian classicism.

The main facade of the church faces Nevsky Prospekt (to the south) and is marked by a strict columned portico, in the pediment of which there is a sculptural relief with a story from the history of Armenia: "Catholicos Grigor the Illuminator performs the baptism of King Trdat III".

The facade of the church is also distinguished by the architectural decoration of the windows, pilasters with elegant capitals and a towering domed tower with a cross.

The interior of the Armenian church of St. Catherine looks spacious and grand, which is facilitated by the arched arches and massive columns with white architectural capitals. The ceremonial decoration of the shrine is also given by the fact that the columns, walls and floor are decorated with colored artificial marble.

The interior of the church is decorated with paintings based on biblical motifs, stucco decorative cornices with dentils, paintings and massive "ballroom" chandeliers.

Near the eastern part of the main facade of the church are placed:

- cross-stone or Armenian cross "Khachkar", which is a stele made of tuff, on which an Orthodox cross and ornaments are carved. In the lower part there is an inscription: "From the Republic of Armenia to the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg".

The cross was installed in June 2003. Sculptor A. Tashyan (Yerevan);

- a small fountain, the center of which is decorated with a cast sculpture "Pomegranate Tree", depicting a pomegranate tree with a vine twining around it, where the "pomegranate" symbolizes the unity of the Christian church, and the "vine" is an attribute of Christ.

The sculpture was installed near the church in June 2003. Metal artist Yu. Sarkisyan, architect Yu. A. Babayan. Material-stainless steel. A gift from the Republic of Armenia.

The Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Catherine is located in the back of the buildings on Nevsky Prospekt.

The main facade of the church from Nevsky Prospekt is partially covered by two buildings that were originally built by the Armenian community and are part of the ensemble of the Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Catherine.

The building on Nevsky Prospekt at number 42 was built according to the project of Yu. M. Felten as the house of the head of the Armenian community - Ivan Lazarevich Lazarev.

The second residential building at number 40 at the church was built in 1794-1798 by the architect Yegor Timofeevich Sokolov also for Lazarev.

In 1800, Archbishop Joseph certified a will, according to which the church houses were passed to Lazarev's descendants in the male line up to the fourth generation; after that, the houses were to become the property of the Armenian community.

In the future, both houses were restored, and the house at number 42 was rebuilt according to the project of A. I. Melnikov - one floor was added. From 1854 to 1872, F. I. Tyutchev lived in the house number 42.

Currently, the Culture Committee of the Administration of St. Petersburg is working in the house No. 40. Commercial premises are also located in the houses.

Practical information

Entrance to the Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Catherine is free (free of charge).

The address of the church: Nevsky Prospekt, 40-42.

Coordinates of the church: 59°56'07"N 30°19'56"E (59.935278, 30.332222).

Nearest metro stations: "Gostiny Dvor" and "Nevsky Prospekt".

Website of the Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Catherine: armenian-church.

All accommodation facilities in St. Petersburg, including in the city center and on Nevsky Prospekt, can be viewed and booked here

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