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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Cathedrals Of St.Petersburg, Russia

Posted by R. Ann Siracusa

My July release, All For Spilled Blood, fourth book in the Tour Director Extraordinaire romantic suspense series, is set in St. Petersburg. I visited there in 2004 and found it to be a fascinating and beautiful city with canals like Venice, earning it the nickname Venice of the North.
St. Petersburg, second largest city in Russia, was built by Tsar Peter the Great in 1703. Although the Tsar set out to make his capital city as European as possible, it still has the unique Russian flare for design, and the most magnificent buildings are the cathedrals.
In spite of the confiscation of churches by the government after the October Revolution of 1917 and the destruction and looting of religious sanctuaries in the 1920’s, many of these marvelous cathedrals have been restored. While many artifacts and works of art were lost, the restorations have captured some of the prior splendor. But don’t look for pews or seats in the churches still used for Russian Orthodox services. There aren’t any. It is customary to stand during the service.
A few of the many examples follow. The Church On Spilled Blood is my favorite, and figures prominently in the title of my upcoming release, so let’s start our tour there.
This Russian Revival-style church, built between 1883 and 1907, is known as Resurrection of Christ Church or The Church of Our Savior On The Spilled Blood, but it is generally called The Church On Spilled Blood.
It marks the exact spot where, in 1881, Emperor Alexander II was assassinated by a group of revolutionaries who threw a bomb into his royal carriage. His heir and younger brother, Alexander III, insisted on building the church on the exact spot of the assassination. 
Photos: Marc Perrotta - Elle Croft 

Designed in the Baroque style, SS Peter and Paul was built between 1712 and 1733, and is the oldest landmark in St. Petersburg. This was the first wooden church to be erected at SS Peter and Paul Fort on Valsilyevsky Island after St. Petersburg was officially founded. It is the burial site for nearly all the rulers of Russia since Peter the Great through Alexander III. The bell tower makes it unusual among Russian Churches.
The cathedral closed in 1919 and became a museum in 1924. It is still a museum, but services have been held there regularly since 2000.

According to Wikipedia, “When renovators were cleaning the angel on the spire in 1997, they found a note in a bottle left in one of the folds of the angel’s gown. In the note, renovators from 1953 apologized for what they felt was rushed and shoddy work.” It is rumored another note was found also in the same renovation, but the message has never been revealed to the public.


This cathedral, built between 1748 and 1761, was part of a complex planned by Empress Elizabeth to include a nunnery and a school for girls.

The cathedral was completed, but when Elizabeth died, the work on the monastery came to a halt. By the early 1830s, much of the cathedral had fallen into disrepair until it was restored in 1832 by Nicholas I.    Photo: Wikipedia               

Of the ten churches in the city named the Annunciation of the Mother of God, this is one of the only two surviving structures. Some sources named this as the first wooden church built there in the earliest years of St. Petersburg.

At that time, Vasilevskiy was planned as the center of the city. In 1750, by which time Vasilevsky was predominantly a merchant quarter, construction began on a stone church, funded by wealthy members of the congregation, and principally the Chirkiniy family of brewers.


Sometimes called the Troitsky Cathedral, this building is an example of the Empire style, built between 1828 and 1835. According to the Russian tradition, each regiment of the imperial guards had its own cathedral. The Trinity Cathedral was the regimental church of the Izmailovsky Regiment of Imperial guards, which moved to Saint Petersburg when the city was established as the Russian capital under Empress Anna Ioannovna (1693-1740).

Constructed during the reign of Emperor Nicholas I to replace a wooden church built in 1754-56 (damaged during a flood in 1824) began in May 1828, and the cathedral was consecrated in May 1835.
The cathedral rises to a height of more than 80 meters, and dominates the skyline of the surrounding area. After the revolution, most of the cathedral’s icons and valuables were stolen and the building was closed in 1938. At one point it was a warehouse of the Ministry of Telecommunications. It was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1990. It is functioning but most bare inside.


This Gothic-Revival style church was built  between 1777 and 1780 at the direction of Catherine the Great. It was the house church for the Chesme Palace, a stopover estate between St. Petersburg and the summer palace of the royal family in Tsarskoe Selo. It is now within the city of St. Petersburg. This striking red-and-white structure commemorates Alexsei Orlov’s victory over Turkish forces in 1770 at the Bay of Chesme.   

Fortunately, the unique piece of architecture has survived almost intact during the period of repressions and abandonment of religious monuments under the Soviet government. The land surrounding the church has been used for burial of war heroes of the Siege of Leningrad. Church services are held here regularly. Photos:


Designed by Civil Engineer Nikolay Sultanov in typical Russian Orthodox (Kievan Russian style), the Cathedral at Peterhof Palace aimed at providing a larger church for local residents who weren’t allowed into palace churches.

Construction started in the mid-eighteen-nineties and was finally completed under Nicholas II in 1905. In 1935 the church was shut down. During World War II it was seriously damaged as the whole Peterhof. It was used by German military forces as artillery headquarter, to spy on Soviet ships and then it became a warehouse. Eventually after long restoration works, the first church service was celebrated on January, 19, 1990.

CHURCH OF THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR SAVIOR - Kizhi IslandTwo of the most remarkable churches I saw in Russia are located side by side on Kizhi Island. a small island of the Kizhi Archipelago in Lake Onega, about 300 miles northeast of St. Petersburg.
Both the Church of the Transfiguration of our Savior, with twenty-two domes, and the adjacent Intercession Church, with nine domes, are constructed of spruce and pine log frameworks covered by birch bark overlaid by 30,000 hand cut, hand carved, and interlocking aspen shingles. Typical of construction in that area, there are no nails or other metals involved in either structure.  However, in certain light, the domes seem to gleam like silver metal.
The Church of the Transfiguration, the larger structure built in 1714, stands 121 feet. It is not heated and used only for summer services. Intercession Church is the “winter” church.
The structures were almost lost to deterioration, but in 1990 the entire island was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As such, smoking is prohibited except in certain identified areas due to the nature of the wooden structures. Also, no one lives on the island and staying there overnight is prohibited.Photos:

Release Date in July 2018

Book Four Tour Director Extraordinaire Series
Desert Breeze Publishing
She’s young, intelligent, fun, and determined to be the best tour director ever. When she meets Europol spy Will Talbot on her first solo tour in Morocco, her ordinary and predictable life turns upside down and will never be the same again.  Little did she know that smuggling a dead body out of Morocco was only the beginning.
Tall, dark and to-die-for gorgeous, this spy has a troubled past, huge issues with trust and guilt, and a calling to rescue innocent victims. But nothing in his action-filled, dangerous existence could have prepared him for Harriet Ruby.
Harriet and Will’s intense magnetic attraction to each other creates a volatile combination.  Together, they experience hilarious misadventures, great sex, and life-threatening journeys in pursuit of murderers, smugglers, terrorists, and a once-in-a-lifetime love.
Harriet Ruby, tour director extraordinaire, and her fiancé and favorite spy, Will Talbot, travel to St. Petersburg, Russia, undercover as tour directors for the US delegation to an international youth conference.  Harriet tackles her first covert assignment for the Department of Homeland Security to investigate smuggled artwork while Will’s mission is to locate and destroy a group of terrorists recruiting young computer experts.
Their marriage plans hit a snag when Will locates a long-lost cousin with startling news about his heritage.  When the artwork being smuggled has particular significance to one of the terrorist sympathizers, their missions entangle and begin to unravel, leaving Will at the mercy of terrorist kidnappers and Harriet holding the bag.


As we kissed, he lifted my sweater and ran his hand up my rib cage. “You came prepared.”
“No point in wasting time. First one naked gets to be on top.”
As we kissed, he lifted my sweater and ran his hand up my rib cage. “You came prepared.”

He let me go, but kept his hands on my arms. “Not so fast. I have to secure the door.” Still holding one of my wrists, he clicked all his spy locks into place. “Besides, we’re not in a hurry.”

“We’re not? What’s changed?” Usually we couldn’t keep our hands off each other.
“Nothing, except this could be our last uninterrupted time together for a while. I want to take it slow.” I hadn’t seen that coming, but he gave me a kiss that sent me reeling. I knew he meant business, no matter how long it took. “Besides, I have something for you.”
He detached himself and went into the bathroom. I had something for him, too. I’d stripped down to my thong when he returned carrying a small container like a miniscule ice chest.
I hesitated, scrutinizing it with a frown. “What’s that? It looks like one of those sterile containers for transporting medical supplies.”
“You’re close. It’s the refrigerated version for transporting donor organs.” He set it on the table. With great ceremony he went about unlocking it and popped open the lid. “Take a look.”
Donor organs? Oh boy. I hesitated and did a nose wrinkle. I hoped it didn’t contain body parts.  Ice cream would be good, though. I gathered my courage and peered inside.
“Bubble wrap?” I’d expected to see ice. At least a frozen cooler pack.
“Open it.”
While I had no desire to do that, I didn’t want to appear ungrateful. I lifted out the wrapped objects and unwound them from the plastic. My eyes widened.
“Reddi-wip and chocolate syrup? Yum. My favorites.” I licked my lips. “Where did these come from?”
He had already kicked off his shoes and unzipped his slacks. “For me to know and for you to enjoy.”
He moved so slowly, I began to fumble with the buttons on his shirt, just to hurry things along.  “C’mon, tell me.”
“Don’t you want to know what I’m going to do with it?”
“I already have a pretty good idea what.” I shoved off his shirt and ran my fingers through the fine hairs on his chest, then ran my tongue around one of his nipples. His muscles bunched under my touch and he shuddered. “I also know you can’t buy aerosol cans of whipped cream in Russia, and you didn’t bring it with you last night. How did you get it?”
He grinned and kicked off the pants from around his ankles. His undershorts followed. “I severely abused my authority, I’m afraid.”
Trepidation skittered through me, and my heart skipped a beat. “You’re not going to get in trouble, are you?”
“No, at least not before we use them.” He picked up the can, squirted me on the chest, then scooped me into his arms and licked the whipped cream off my breast. “This may get messy.”
My wiggling out of his arms smeared both of us with whipped cream. “You only get one taste until you tell me.”
He pulled me into his embrace. “The Air Force transported it in. Before I left, I flashed my credentials, gave them a story about an organ exchange as part of my top secret mission, and here it is. Just in time for the operation.” He let me go, grabbed up the can, and squirted me again, lower this time. “I know how much you like it.”
I stood there, dripping whipped cream onto the carpet, and gaped at him. “You did that for me? Are you sweet, or what?”
“Not as sweet as I’m going to be. Ready?”
Was I ever! Chocolate and whipped cream are my best colors.□

     Travel to Foreign Lands for Romance and Intrigue with a Novel by      AUTHOR R. ANN SIRACUSAFacebook    Twitter  GooglePlus  Website   Amazon Link,_Saint_Petersburg,_Saint_Petersburgдостопримечательности/Peter_and_Paul_Fortress   

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