The Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross

The Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross
Region Petrozavodsk

Modern stone graveyard cathedral in the name of the Exaltation of the Cross, located in the Zareka district in Petrozavodsk, was founded on July 16, 1848 at the place of the old wooden church demolished in 1847. Efim Grigorjevich Pimenov, a merchant from Petrozavodsk and a number of other benefactors made their contributions to the construction of the church, which was built during 4 years. It was crowned with the Holy Cross on July 14, 1852. In November 1852 when the construction was almost completed there were nine processions round the church (“krestny khod”), when the parishioners brought new icons into the church. After the All-Night Vigil on December 29 Arkady, archbishop of Olonets, solemnly consecrated the church.

There were 2 altars in the church of the Exaltation of the Cross - one in the name of the Holy Cross and the other in the name of the Ascension of the Lord. The latter was made later, in 1856, due to the zeal of a merchant Petr Vasilyevich Abramov. 11 years later Petr Vasilyevich built two stone buildings in the western part of the church for the archive and vestry property.

In XIX century the sources of clergy contributions were first of all volunteer alms and a part of fee, paid for a place at the cemetery, as well as bank bill interests (a special type of Russian government securities, issued by the bank).

There were two churches attached to the church of the Exaltation of the Cross - a wooden church of the Holy Trinity, placed nearby behind the same fence, and a stone chapel (“chasovnya”, or a small church) on the Kykkovskya Mount in a versta (1 versta- 3500 ft) far from the church. There were church ministries held in summer and on patronal days (or dedication days – church feast in the name of a saint a given church is dedicated to). The stone chapel on the Kykkovskaya Mount was built at the place of a wooden chapel in 1879 due to the zeal of Anna Nikolayevna Pimenova, a widow of one of the benefactors of the church of the Exaltation of the Cross.

Few documents containing information on the history of the church in prerevolutional period have been preserved. Many of them were destroyed in 1850-s. Documents few in number have remained untill present time and tell us about the events of 1920-1950-s. The Church of the Exaltation of the Cross was open for church services untill the beginning of World War II. In 1930 9 bells weighting 3.1 tons were seized from the fund of the church for “the needs of industrialization”. Later,some holy vessels were brought from the cathedral of the Holy Spirit which was  exploded in 1936.

Due to lack of clergy, part of which was subjected to repressions, women-parishioners, called “matyshka”, organized church services. Archive documents have kept the name of one of these women. Churchwarden of the cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross, former nun Evdokiya Grigorjevna Malysheva proved herself as a true adherent of the Orthodox faith calling for repentance and christening. She became one of the initiators of opening the Orthodox churches in Petrozavodsk after its liberation in 1944.

On October 31, 1944 the church of the Exaltation of the Cross was given to the believers. Soon a father-superior and priests came to the church.

Many of the ministers and deacons who came to the churches after the war learned its severity by their own experience. Part of them used the warming of the attitude of the Soviet power to patriotic Russian emigrants and returned to the Motherland from the Russian Abroad. There were such people ministering in the cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross. Father Lev Gusarenko, deacon of this church ordained in 1947, was an officer during the war, and went from Moscow to Kenigsberg. He was awarded with the Order of the Red Star for his courage and heroism shown when defending his motherland. Protodeacon f. Gennady Egorov came to Petrozavodsk after long wandering as an emigrant serving in the Orthodox parishes in Turkey, Bulgaria, France, Germany and China. He could speak seven languages!

The cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross has become the main church of Petrozavodsk and Olonets eparchy (or diocese). Now there are three altars in the church – the first one in the name of the Holy Cross, the second one in the name of the Ascension of the Lord and the third one in the name of St. Rev. Anthony Rymljanin. The relics of Karelian Saint Elisey Sumsky, a part of relics of St. Anthony Rimljanin and St. Great Martress Varvara rest in the church.

Address: 1, Volhovskaya Str.
Phone: (814-2) 56-42-59

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