>Church on the Spilled Blood

>St Petersburg, Russia

The Church of the Saviour of the Spilled Blood in St Petersburg is probably one of the most photographed and painted.

I do own a couple of souvenir paintings of it already, but couldn’t resist this darling Babushka and her pastel art.

I have so many photos of it that I must restrain myself. I have only been inside it once, and remembered it looking like a giant faberge egg on the inside. I have no photos from the inside because I accidentally erased them last time. But this time, I went inside again, and wasn’t disappointed.

Built in a much older style than that of the city of St Petersburg, it reminds me of the one standing in the Red Square in Moscow. I hear the resemblance was intentional.

The church was built in 1883, on the spot where Alexander II was assassinated in 1881, over the drops of his blood on the pavement.

This wasn’t the first attempt on the Czar’s life, others which included the derailment of a train and an explosion in the Winter Palace.

Alexander II made many liberal reforms in his time. He emancipated the Serfs, moved for a freer press, education of all including women, and took away corporal punishment.
He also helped Finland become its own country with their own currency.

He had his own motives for eliminating Serfdom – he wanted to build a network of railways across the country, for economical reasons, and defence. He needed the serfs as a labour force and in the military.

He wasn’t so nice to the territories from Poland to Lithuania. He excluded them from his liberal reforms, introduced martial law in Lithuania, and banned their languages – Polish, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Belorussian.

He also waged a lot of wars, including one in the Balkans to free the Slavic people there, and it was said he liberated Bulgaria. He had a lot of expansionist policies, yet he was the one to sell Alaska to the USA.

When the people’s movement arose he tried to repress it, leading to many attempts on his life by Revolutionaries, the final of which occur ed as he was driving in his carriage on the site where the church stands today.

Enough history for now….

The interior of the church is completely covered in Mosaics. It’s hard to do it justice by photograph.

The mosaics remind me of Icons. By watching the lectures given onboard, I have learned a lot about history and the pertinent matters to the countries we are going, which makes me appreciate them ever so much more.

This is what I learned about Icons:

Taking the bible quite literally, they are meant to be a distortion of physical reality, so as not to create anything in man or god’s image. The people in the icons are meant to be distorted and dull in colour, and the background is the most luminous. This should draw the worshipper into the picture and induce a meditative state. The church certainly has this effect.

Every Russian Orthodox church has an Icon wall, meant to be the gateway to the inner sanctuary which can only be passed through by clergy.

The church hasn’t seen very many good days. It hasn’t even been used for regular worship. After its completion in 1907 it met the fate of many churches after the 1917 revolution. It fell into disrepair and during the dire famine in the Siege of Leningrad it was used to house vegetables, leading to its name “Saviour on the Potatoes”

Jesus is depicted on the main dome of the church. He had a shell fall through him in WWII during the siege.

You can see in this sideways photograph of a photograph, the hole in Jesus’s right chest.

27 years of repairs were done, Jesus was resurrected, and it was opened again in ’97.
For the first time, this church is living its heyday.

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5 Responses to >Church on the Spilled Blood

  1. grace says:

    >What a name for a church! The paintings inside are so overwhelming! Thanks for the hard work in taking the pictures and sharing them here!

  2. >What an astonishing place! Such intricate workmanship must have taken thousands and thousands of man-hours to complete…. and then it was used for storing vegetables… unbelievable. And built in 1883… my father was 1 year old that year. Amazing that such a building was built during my father’s lifetime!

  3. Goofball says:

    >wow, what a stunning church

  4. Evelyn says:

    >Wow, Stacey, what a beautiful pictorial post! So much of the Russian Orthodox Church is beautiful. Its music, much of which comes from composers like Tchaikovsky, its architecture, and its depth of Faith all add to the Church’s beauty. Its past has been a troubled and somewhat bloody one but both the Church and its faithful still remain ever strong.

  5. Ginnie says:

    >We didn’t get to go inside this church, Stacey, so I’m so glad to see your interior pics. They’re gorgeous! What a place!

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