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Peter and Paul Cathedral in Kazan

Peter and Paul Cathedral in Kazan is an Orthodox church in the historical center of the capital of Tatarstan, built in memory of the visit in 1722 of Emperor Peter I.

Gift to the sovereign

The emergence of an Orthodox church in Kazan associated with the name of Peter I, who visited the city three times. On May 30, 1722, the emperor, on his way to the Persian campaign, in order to strengthen the influence of Russia in the east, stopped in a stone two-story house of a Kazan merchant and patron of the arts, the owner of a large cloth manufacture, Ivan Afanasyevich Mikhlyaev.

Here the sovereign celebrated his 50th birthday: for three days in a row the whole city celebrated the emperor’s birthday. The tsar who was quick to make decisions gave the unprofitable state-owned cloth factories to Mikhlyaev’s management.

Interesting! The merchant, in joy, presented the emperor with a huge tray full of gold and precious stones.

Then Peter went on his long hike along the Volga. The manufacturer, in memory of the significant event and in gratitude for the trust, conceived to build a magnificent stone cathedral in honor of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, the heavenly patrons of the king.

The erection of the cathedral

He decided to build a temple next to his house, where there was a dilapidated wooden Peter and Paul Church. Ivan Afanasevich decided to build a cathedral that would surpass all Kazan temples in size and luxurious decoration. In 1723, he zealously got down to business.

For the construction of the temple, the patron chose a fashionable baroque style. The cathedral erected quickly, but the builders failed. The building of the cathedral already royally towered over the center of the city, but when the upper vault laid out, the high-rise structure collapsed: local craftsmen made a mistake in their calculations.

Peter I, having learned about the failure, urgently expelled a team of experienced craftsmen from Moscow, who completed the construction in 1726. The emperor did not see the gift temple; he died in 1725. Soon the cathedral consecrated. During his lifetime, the merchant Mikhlyaev provided the temple with everything necessary and bequeathed most of his property to the maintenance.

Vicissitudes in the fate of the temple

The high temple burned five times, plundered by the rebels led by Pugachev in 1774. From the middle of the 19th century, the foundation and facade of the building began to deteriorate. Eminent Kazan merchants collected donations for the restoration of their beloved temple, and there were also good craftsmen. The damaged temple restored by the whole world.

In 1889, the foundations of the collapsed bell tower completely replaced, and the dilapidated north side-chapel rebuilt from bricks. The rector of the cathedral, Archpriest Pyotr Malov, organized a large-scale reconstruction. The original appearance of the temple restored according to old drawings and drawings.

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The gallery surrounding the cathedral decorated with intricate tiles. Multicolored glasses inserted in a crosswise manner into the windows. The courtyard paved with cobblestones, and stove heating installed inside the cathedral. All Russian emperors, starting with Catherine II, public figures, ministers and writers, attended the service in the cathedral. Here Fyodor Chaliapin began his career as a choir singer.

In 1930, the Bolsheviks removed, smashed and removed the bells, disassembled the mechanism of the tower clock on the bell tower. The precious icon frames and temple utensils, confiscated from the church, disappeared without a trace.

Divine services in the church held until 1939, then the rector of the church, Andrei Bogolyubsky, arrested, accused of high treason, and sent to a camp. A planetarium and a party school , a conference hall and restoration workshops were opened in the temple. A billiards table set up in front of the iconostasis: the losers knocked down the carved decorations from the iconostasis with a cue.

The building gradually collapsed, bricks fell out of the walls, and the interior collapsed. The authorities began to restore the cathedral in 1970. Ruins appeared before the eyes of the craftsmen: collapsed masonry, crumbling stucco molding, a lost roof.

Artists from the capital have recreated the stucco molding and ornamentation on the facade, the painting of the upper church. The iconostasis made anew. For 50 years, the temple closed for services, which resumed on July 25, 1989.

Fairy tower

The Peter and Paul Cathedral is huge, as if going deep into the sky, bright, festive and elegant. The luxurious temple, standing on a hill, is visible from afar.

External appearance

The 52-meter cathedral stands on a high basement – the basement, which is a warm temple. On the western and northern sides of the basement, the building adjoined by the arcade of the gallery, the roof of which serves as a gulbis-terrace with two wide staircases.

An arcade is a continuous series of equal arches resting on columns. The gallery a covered, long, light room, in which one of the longitudinal walls replaced by columns.

On a note! The Peter and Paul Cathedral was built in the style of the Peter and Paul Baroque, which offers elegance, festivity, but without a heap of decor.

The facades of the cathedral decorated with single and paired blades (a vertical flat and narrow protrusion of the wall) and pilasters (a protrusion on the wall that represents a column), as well as semi-columns (parts of the columns protruding from the plane of the wall by half) and platbands.

The opulent stucco molding typical of the Baroque style has replaced by an ocher-yellow façade background with blue, green, white and red details. 87 picturesque icons in carved patterned frames, located in the piers between the windows, are woven into the extravaganza of flowers. In the corners of the cathedral there are figures of angels one and a half human height.

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A niche on the eastern façade of the cathedral occupied by a large icon “The Mother of God enthroned, surrounded by saints.” Icons, “written on tin,” adorned the entrances to the temple.

The walls around the perimeter of the cathedral crowned with ceramic tiles. The lush decoration completed by the checkerboard covering of the roofs and domes. The keel-like outlines of the heads of the temple decorated with an openwork fringe made of tin.

The baroque style expressed by murals and stucco moldings in the form of fruit and flower bouquets. Vines with hanging bunches of berries twine around the trunks of the columns. Against the background of the brightly colored facades – branches of stucco ornament with peaches, apples, pears and plums, mixed with herbs, flowers and leaves, they cover the edges of the facade and the plane on the sides of the windows, making the cathedral exquisite and unforgettable.

Cathedral interior

The cathedral consists of an upper and a lower temple. A high and wide staircase leads to the upper temple, climbing up which a person feels the approach of a festive celebration.

The main summer church, located on the second floor, consecrated in the name of the holy apostles Peter and Paul. Warm church on the ground floor – in honor of the Presentation of the Lord. Two side-by-side churches on the first floor – in honor of the miraculous icon of the Mother of God “Life-Giving Spring” and “Burning Bush”.

The interior of the temple is striking in its splendor. The large space in the center of the cathedral allows you to see the altar from everywhere. The light coming from top to bottom illuminates the gilded figures of the saints under the dome. The windows made of mica glass, the floor cast iron, the walls decorated with frescoes.

Bright architectural patterns with an abundance of flowers, branches and bunches of berries – on the ceiling and walls of the cathedral. A special feature of the decoration is sudden angels hiding in a magnificent ornament, which does not look pretentious, but creates a feeling of grace and celebration. The vault of the main dome rises upward, a five-tiered chandelier illuminates the temple. In the carpet of plant patterns, there are paintings with biblical subjects.


A magnificent decoration of the Peter and Paul Church is the seven-tiered iconostasis of the upper church, created in the time of Peter I, 25 meters high. The iconostasis of a four-storey building, which completely occupies the wall of the central room, contains 84 icons painted on a gold background and united by a single style.

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The icons crowned with carved wood and glittering gilded interweaving of vines, flower garlands and twisted columns. The Royal Doors decorated with gilded carving – beauty for the glory of God.


In the Peter and Paul Cathedral there is a rich sacristy:

  • Three altar crosses with pearl inlays richly decorated with emeralds;
  • Gospel of 1861 with splitters – miniature inserts on the binding of a book with a blue yacht and semi-precious stones;
  • Silver censer, donated by the founder of the cathedral, resembling the cathedral in shape;
  • Richly decorated church utensils donated by the merchant Mikhlyaev;
  • The Lie of Peter I – a special gold spoon with a cross at the end, used during communion;
  • An analogous icon of the holy apostles Peter and Paul;
  • The five-tiered chandelier weighing 800 kg, illuminating the church with 40 candles, is a donation from the merchant Mikhlyaev.

Bell tower

To the west of the temple there is a civil building: a stone mansion of the merchant Mikhlyaev. From the northeastern side, a slender six-tier bell tower with a height of 49 meters adjoins the temple, which is not inferior in design to the cathedral.

The combination of the upwardly decorated bell tower with the magnificently decorated ponderous church created an amazing ensemble. The bell tower windows surrounded by graceful kokoshniks and colored tiles. The second tier of the tower decorated with deep niches for statues.

10 bells hung on the belfry, the weight of the largest – 189 pounds (31000 kg). In the basement of the tower there is a crypt with the sarcophagus of the founder of the cathedral, manufacturer Ivan Afanasyevich Mikhlyaev.

Shrines of the Peter and Paul Cathedral

  1. The miraculous Seven Lake Icon of the Mother of God, which saved the inhabitants of Kazan from a pestilence;
  2. The relics of the Monks Jonah and Nektarios of Kazan, assistants to the first bishop of Kazan, Guriy.
  3. The relics of Metropolitan Ephraim of Kazan, who crowned the throne of the young Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov in 1913.
  4. The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II served twice in the cathedral.

The Orthodox Cathedral in the name of the supreme apostles Peter and Paul is the spiritual symbol of Kazan, where services regularly held and diocesan celebrations take place.

Peter and Paul Cathedral in Kazan
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