Kazan Cathedral

In 1849, Irkutsk millionaire gold maker Evfimy Andreevich Kuznetsov made a donation of 250 thousand rubles for the construction of a new cathedral in Irkutsk. The place for the construction of the cathedral was not immediately chosen. The discussion of this issue lasted from 1850 to 1872 with the detailed publication of various options in media. On April 17, 1875, on the birthday of Emperor Alexander II, the new cathedral was solemnly laid down by Bishop Benjamin, in the presence of the Governor-General of Eastern Siberia Baron Frederiks and other officials and residents of Irkutsk. The proximity of the fate of the emperor and the cathedral is striking - the grandeur of life and the same tragic death from an explosion.

The construction was based on a project compiled by the Irkutsk architect Vladislav Andreyevich Kudelsky. Immediately, at the first stage of construction, disagreements arose between Bishop Benjamin and the architect, leading to the removal of Kudelsky from controling the construction of the cathedral. Engineer M.N. Ogon-Dogonoskiy was invited to oversee the construction of the cathedral, who significantly changed the project, proposing to connect the temple with the bell tower. In this form, the drawing was sent to the Holy Synod, where approbation lasted for 6 years.

Meanwhile, despite these delays, the construction of the cathedral was already in full speed. The foundation was laid to a depth of 5 fathoms (10.7 m) under the pylons and 3 fathoms (6.4 m) under the walls. Brick for the walls was made at a specially acquired factory, located near the summer bishop's summer house. Construction work was carried out non-stop, with the exception of the winter period. In the summer they lasted until 12 a.m. By June 1879, the walls of the cathedral were built to the height of the second tier of windows. However, a terrible fire, which destroyed half of the city, suspended construction for another 6 years. Construction was resumed in 1885. The architect-architect Baron Georgy Vasilievich Rosen was invited to lead the work, who presented his project for the restoration of the temple.

The changes made by G.V. Rosen to the initial project on the lower, already built part, concerned the facade decor. The upper part received completely different architectural forms. Not only the outlines of the domes, but also the entire style of the structure were changed. The project of G.V. Rosen was designed in the Russian-Byzantine style and was distinguished by more magnificent decoration.

The iconostasis of the main aisle was cut out by G.V. Rosen young Irkutsk master N.P. Popov. He also made the iconostases of the side chapels, but already according to his own drawings. In the eastern part of the basement there was a tomb with a chapel in the name of the Second Terrible Advent of Christ, consecrated much earlier than other chapels in 1880. In February 1892, the Irkutsk archbishop Benjamin (Vasily Blagonravov from Tambov (1825-1892), bishop from 1873) was buried in the tomb on the right side.

The construction of the fence around the cathedral began in 1892. Drawings of bars and gates were made by local craftsmen. They were made at the Nikolaev ironworks of the Butin brothers, located in the Bratsk region. The construction of the Cathedral of the Theotokos-Kazan Cathedral and its internal structure was completed in 1894.

On January 25, 1894, the main chapel was consecrated in the cathedral in the name of Our Lady of Kazan. The consecration of the temple was performed by two archbishops, accompanied by two archimandrites, seventeen priests and three protodeacons. Between the end of January and the end of August 1894, Archbishop Tikhon consecutively consecrated the remaining thrones of the new cathedral. There were 6 thrones in the church: in the name of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, Saints Euthymius and Euthymiya, Saints Tikhon and Mitrofan, St. Innocent I the Bishop of Irkutsk, Rev. Benjamin and the Last Judgment.

Irkutsk Cathedral was one of the largest religious buildings in Russia. It accommodated 5,000 worshipers, and its height reached 61 meters. Contemporaries testified that the cathedral was "the fourth provincial in size and beauty inside and out."

After the October Revolution, in conditions of persecution and terror against the church, the life of the cathedral began to freeze. In 1919, steam heating was destroyed, and services began to be performed only in the warm season. In the 1920s, a sports ground was arranged in the cathedral fence, on which young people played football daily. At the same time, a significant part of the glass was knocked out, the tomb was especially damaged. An active campaign was conducted in the local press for the liquidation of the cathedral. At that time, the Kazan Cathedral was kept by a small community of believers, which at its own meager means tried to repair the damage to the temple. On November 10, 1930, on the basis of a resolution of the Presidium of the Irkutsk District Executive Committee, despite the petitions of the Diocesan Church Administration, the cathedral was closed.

An attempt to dismantle the cathedral for building material was unsuccessful. Then it was decided to blow it up. The first explosion of the cathedral was in August 1932. Five domes. The cathedral did not give up. After it exploded, it went through the second, third, fourth explosion... Workers brigades manually dismantled the debris of the cathedral, unloading them on trolleys that took garbage along temporary rails arranged on the square. After leveling the remains of the cathedral level of Tikhvin Square arose by almost 1 meter.

In October 2001, at the initiative of the regional administration, a monument chapel was built on the site of the cathedral destroyed in 1932 in the name of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God. It is a memorial to commemorate the 3rd millennium of Christianity in Russia and is a small copy of one of the four small chapters of the cathedral (2/3 of its actual size). The sketch of the chapel according to archival drawings was compiled by S.I. Medvedev.