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Entries / Military Churches (entry)

Military Churches (entry)

Categories / Religion. Church/Places of Worship (see also Architecture and Urban Planning)
Categories / Army. Navy/Quarters, Arsenals, Riding-halls, Guardhouses, etc.

MILITARY CHURCHES, churches attached to military units, emerged parallelly with the foundation of the city, set up as field churches in regimental settlements - garrison, infantry and guards quarters, as well as naval crews (which were housed in marquees or huts, changing their whereabouts with the unit). In the 18th century army churches laid the foundation for a number of parish churches (St. Mathew's Church, Holy Trinity Church in Gavan, the Christ the Saviour Church on Koltovskaya). By the middle of the 18th century the Life Guards Preobrazhensky, Semenovsky, Izmailovsky and Kavalergardsky Regiments had their field churches replaced with wooden or stone churches. St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral was built for the Navy and St. Sergius All Artillery Cathedral was attached to the artillery corps. In the first quarter of the 19th century the military churches of the Life Guards Pavlovsky, Chasseur, Grenadier and Finlyandsky regiments were consecrated. From this point onwards state funds were used for building enormous regimental cathedrals in St. Petersburg. V.P. Stasov designed Holy Transfiguration Cathedral and the Holy Trinity Cathedral, and K.А. Ton’s projects were used for designed Russian Byzantine style designs the churches of the Life Guards Chasseur, Horse, Grenadier and Semenovsky regiments. Military churches catered to regiment's soldiers and also functioned as a depository of battle relics and trophies. They also kept the uniforms of august regimental chiefs and memorial plaques with the names of the officers fallen in action. The churches of the Life Guards Horse and Semenovsky Regiments also held the tombs of their commanders and officers. From the beginning of WW I of 1914-18 separate burial vaults for officers killed in action were set up in the churches of the Life Guards Preobrazhensky, Chasseur and Moskovsky Regiments. From the second half of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century as a rule large military churches were erected predominantly in the suburbs of St. Petersburg - Tsarskoe Selo, (the Church of the Cuirassier Regiment, Court Cathedral of Our Lady Fedorovskaya), Peterhof (the churches of the Horse Grenadier and Dragoon Regiments), and Kronstadt (Naval Cathedral). In St.Petersburg at the same time the Domestic Chapels of the 3rd Rifle Regiment, the Ural Company and others were consecrated, the Memorial Church of the Saviour and the churches in the military cemeteries districts were built. All military churches from 1800 became subject to the Archbishop of the Army and the Navy (later to the Military Achbishop), and regimental and ship priests served there. Regimental holidays were celebrated in military churches, liturgies in commemoration of the victories and memorial services for the perished comrades were held there. Military сhurches were other establishments as well (e.g. to the General Staff); military institutions, military almshouses and hospitals, depots, forts and summer camps were also assigned to military churches. In 1918 military churches were turned into parish churches or closed down, most of their relics were lost. In 2001 the church of the Naval Institute in Peterhof was consecrated, and in 2002 - the church of the former General Staff.

References: Антонов В. В., Кобак А. В. Полковые храмы Петербурга // Невский архив: Ист.-краевед. сб. М.; СПб., 1993. [Вып. 1]. С. 173-203; Их же. Святыни Санкт-Петербурга: Ист.-церков. энцикл. СПб., 1996. Т. 2. С. 49-75.

V. V. Antonov

Stasov Vasily Petrovich
Ton Konstantin Andreevich

Антонов В. В., Кобак А. В. Полковые храмы Петербурга // Невский архив: Ист.-краевед. сб., 1993
Антонов В. В., Кобак А. В. Святыни Санкт-Петербурга: Ист.-церков. энцикл.: В 3 т. СПб., 1994-1996

The subject Index
St. Matthew’s Church
St. Nicholas' Naval Cathedral
Preobrazhensky Life Guards Regiment
Semenovsky Life Guards Regiment
Izmaylovsky Life Guards Regiment
Cavalier Guards Regiment
St. Sergius All Artillery Cathedral
Pavlovsky Life Guards Regiment
Chasseur Life Guards Regiment
Grenadiers Life Guards Regiment
Finlyandsky Life Guards Regiment
Moscow Life Guards Regiment
Court Cathedral of Our Lady Feodorovskaya
Dragoon Life Guards Regiment
Naval Cathedral
Navy Institute, St.Petersburg
Holy Trinity Church
Holy Transfiguration Cathedral
Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Izmailovsky Life Guards Regiment
Cavalry Life Guards Regiment
Horse Grenadier Life Guards Regiment
Christ the Saviour Church


Regimental Holidays

REGIMENTAL HOLIDAYS, in pre-revolutionary Russia holidays of military units, celebrated on the patron saint's day of the church of a military unit (see Military Chapels) or (in rare cases) on the anniversary day of its foundation