The Official Karelia
  Русская версияEnglish version
  |About Karelia |Symbols   |Tourism |  Cooperation |

The Cathedral of the Cross Exaltation

The first thing the traveller driving to Petrozavodsk from the south sees, is the cathedral of the Cross Exaltation in Zaretsky district. The track makes smooth turn on stone cat's back of Kukko mountain, and there opens the view of the city located as amphitheater on three terraces. They were modeled once by nature during three big deviations of the ancient great-Onego. As geologists consider, its friable coast were three times washed away by the lake surf and have got now the form of enormous footsteps to the present coast. On the wide middle step of the city there stands the church of the Cross Exaltation consecrated in December (Old Style) of 1852, and behind the Lososinka river on the square in former times there also rose all the main Petrozavodsk temples. (Nickolai Kutkov, TVR-Panorama newspaper)

Cathedral Construction
Laying the Foundation and Construction.

From oldest times in Zaretsky district there was Trinity cemetery under the name of the church constructed in 1783. When the city began to extend, it was decided to move the cemetery with a chapel behind the river.

In XIX century there was nodwelling farther than Zaretsky cemetery, only kitchen gardens and haymowings, it was the surburb of the city. Among palings of wooden and rare pig-iron crosses two small wooden churches towered, in which foundation even by July winter ice had not time to thaw. As winters in Karelia are long and cold on the place of ancient wooden cemetry church of the Cross Exaltation it has been decided to construct a stone one. However, hopelessly poor eparchy of Olonets had no means to build it, and the mountain board has just finished construction of the factory cathedral.

Nevertheless on July 16, 1848, on the place of the old cathedral of the Cross Exaltation disassembled in 1847 new church which construction lasted for 4 years was founded. On July 14, 1850, the cathedral has been topped by the Holy Cross, and by the end of its construction, in November of 1852 9 religious processions were accomplished, during which the citizens of Petrozavodsk carried new icons for the cathedral.

The constructed church was called the beauty of the city. There was only one Alexandro-Nevsky stone cathedral in the city before, and the Resurrection cathedral on Cathedral Squarewas half wooden.

Charitable Donations
The merchant of the first guild Mark Pimenov has offered more than a half of the required sum (16 thousand roubles in silver) for the construction of the new stone church the Petrozavodsk. Means for construction of the new cathedral were allotted by another Petrozavodsk merchant Evdokim Grigorievich Pimenov and other philanthropists.

The cathedral was decorated at the expence of the merchant Mark Pimenov. "From the father, the village stonemason, Marko has inherited a poleaxe and a hammer, - his nationals spoke about the native of Vepps village. - His belief is firm as granite of Shoksha, and his love to God is strong as porphyry!"

In 1858 Mark Pimenov on presentation of the eparchial heads was awarded with the order "For merits" on spiritual department. His nephew, another famous merchant and philanthropist Efim Grigorievich Pimenov (1828-1973) for the contribution to construction of Zaretsky cathedral has been awarded with a gold medal. He is buried on Zaretsky cemetery.

Mark Pimenov has spent more than a quarter of million in silver for charity and city needs. This sum huge on the city scale was spent on the cross church of the Cover at the house of the member of higher orders of clergy, on Olonets monasteries, including on Jashezerskaya desert in his native land, on stone and wooden churches in his forefather's Shoksha.

As a merchant he especially cared for trading and travelling. That is why he has constructed a high bell-tower with gilded dome in Klimetsky monastery located almost in the middle of Onego Lake. It served simultaneously as a beacon to all merchants and sea-captains.

In 1857 by diligence of the former churchwarden and merchant Petr Vasilievich Avramov (1824-1875), in the cathedral of the Cross Exaltation the second altar in the name of Ascension of the Lord was arranged. In 1868 at his own expence he has also attached two stone rooms for storage of archive and chasuble property in the western side of the cathedral. He is buried on Zaretsky cemetery.

Cathedral Consecration
On December 29 (Old Style), 1852, His Eminence Arcady, archbishop of Olonetsk, has consecrated the temple. According to the tradition of that time the grade of great consecration was preceded with the nightlong vigil served at night from 28 to 29 of December. In the haze burning of burning candles under vaults of the new temple the human sea worried, people heeded the inspired words of the member of higher orders of clergy, speaking about Cross of the Lord.

Cathedral Before the Revolution of 1917

At the cathedral of the Cross Exaltation the wooden church of Holy Trinity located both in one fencing and the stone chapel on Kukkovskaya mountain one verst from the cathedral were registered. Services in them were performed mainly in summertime and on patron saint's days.

In 1896 the church parochial school for children of Zaretsky quarter was open at the church of the Cross Exaltation. First the school did not have its own premise, and it was settled down in Nazarievsky brotherly house specially built on blessing of the bishop Nazariy on Sobornaya Square for national readings. In the church parochial school 99 persons were trained.

Cathedral Relics
In the cathedral of the Cross Exaltation there is the icon of Divine Mother "Soothe Mine Grief" consecrated by sacred righteous Ioann of Kronstadt. The inscription on the return side of the icon informs about that.

In "Olonets Provincial Sheets" it was informed that once father Ioann of Kronstadt has taken vital participation in the parish life of the churchof the Cross Exaltation. When in 1898 the church council has made the decision to construct a school building at the catherdral, the announcement of fund raising was sent to the newspapers of Saint Petersburg. One hundred roubles, which in those times it was a sum significant enough, was donated by father Ioann of Kronstadt for construction of the parish school. The prayful help of this known in Russia pastor on spiritual education of our land was also obvious. (T.V.Sorokina)

Persons Buried in the Cathedral
Under the altar of the cathedral of the Cross Exaltation archbishop Venedikt of Olonets is buried. He blessed construction of the cathedral, but has died before the construction was finished.

In the cathedral of the Cross Exaltation we can honour the memory of the great son of Russia Konstantin Ivanovich Arseniev, the scientist, the teacher, one of tutors (from 1828 till 1837) of the successor of the throne future emperor Alexander II. Here privy councillor K.I.Arseniev was buried on November 29 (Old Style), 1865 (at the left, by the eve). Arseniev's readings are organized in Petrozavodsk in his honour.

Arseniev belonged to the number of those remarkable scientists, who like M.V.Lomonosov, were put forward from the depths of people. He was born on October 12 (Old Style), 1789, in the village of Mirahanovo of Kostroma province, in 15 versts from the town of Chuhloma in the family of the poor priest, and his grandfather was the priest also. He went to Kostroma seminary. In 1806 among the best seminarists from philosophical and theological classes 17-year-old Arseniev was enrolled in pedagogical institute in St. Petersburg in which the second branch for preparation for creation of the university have been founded. Upon graduation he stayed in the institute to teach geography and Latin language.

Napoleon's entrance into Moscow in 1812 was an occasion for evacuation of pedagogical institute to Petrozavodsk, where Arseniev stayed from the middle of November, 1812, till the end of January, 1813 (Old Style). In Petrozavodsk under the supervision of the chief of Olonets mining factories Armstong he was engaged in the detailed description of these factories in the historical and statistical relation and has made a statistical sketch of Olonets province.

Arseniev's "Brief General Geography" written in 1818 was awarded with numerous reprintings. Arseniev was first-ever to develop principles of division into districts (instead of elementary zoning according to parallels as it was before him) and in works of 1818 for the first time he has introduced the region description of Russia. Many-sided and deep erudition, talent of the writer, talent of the orator have brough wide popularity to Arseniev. "Till now I personally can not forget that amazing impression, - V.V.Grigoriev recollects, - I've got from extensiveness of Arseniev's knowledge, when I, at the end of 1834, met him for the first time in the house of P.A.Pletnev talking to Pushkin about persons and events of times of Peter the Great which history the great poet was going to write then: about these persons and their relations, family and service, Arseniev spoke with such details as if he was their contemporary and was close to them."

On April 19, 1828, emperor Nickolai I has given the decree to the Minister of Internal Affairs on demand of the collegiate adviser Arseniev to deliver the data from all ministries necessary to him for drawing up of statistics of the Russian empire for teaching it to the successor of the throne (future emperor Alexander II) whose education was completed by travel on Russia in 1837. The route of was developed by Arseniev. The retinue, except for militarians, included only K.I.Arseniev and V.A.Zhukovsky. To the successor Cesarevitch in 1848 Arseniev has devoted his largest work "Statistical Sketches of Russia".

"To love Russia, - he wrote, - is a sacred duty of each Russian and it is possible to love with consciousness and belief only when we know it, when we have studied the past destinies of it, when we have adequately evaluated power and force of its people and its illnesses and when we are quite convinced in the actions of the government beneficial for it, led by powerful will and wisdom of the autocrat."

One of Arseniev's sons, Konstantin, edited the unsurpassed in Russia encyclopaedic edition of Brokgauz. And the senior son, Julius, in 1860th years was the governor of Olonets. He has hosted his paralysed father in Petrozavodsk in 1864. On November, 29 (Old Style), 1865, the privy councillor Konstantin Ivanovich Arseniev has died and was buried with honours inside the cathedral of the Cross Exaltation. (Andrey Litvin)

History of the Cross Located Near the Cathedral
As the inscription says, this worship cross was raised in 1725 "by Peter's factories inhabitant Ivan Ivanov Sarayev on worship of all orthodox christians". It was established in the memory of visiting the factories by the emperor Peter the Great near the entrance gate of Petrovsky factory.

There has occurred information that the first cross has collapsed from time, and a new one was raised instead of it in the middle of XIX century.

Within the Soviet Authority
After the revolution of 1917 unpretentious riches of even the most poor rural churches became objects of steadfast attention of the proletarian state. Especially after the terrible famine which has fallen on the Volga region. Since 1922 silver things in Petrozavodsk churches were registered under the order of Moscow. When the 20-year-old representative of province extreme commission on struggle against counterrevolution and sabotage Pavel Galdobin together with the adviser on jewelry examined iconostasis of Zaretsky church, the indignant parishioners have nearly attacked them with fists: "your mum, Pavlushka, kissed all the icons over here, and you dare lift your hand against them!" None of the sacred image had been touched then: as professionally fast the adviser has defined, the church icons had no silver frameworks.

In 1926 under instruction of the Сouncil of national commissioners of the AKSSR detailed inventory was made in the churches of Petrozavodsk. The Soviet authority required it for taking into account all material resources of the Church. On November 16 in the presence of the chairman of local department of People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs and the member parish council have take the inventory of the property of the Church of the Cross Exaltation. However, after that the cathedral has not been closed. It continued to work right up till the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. The part of the property of the subsequently blown up cathedral of the Holy Spirit was transferred into the church.

The priest Vsevolod Ioannovich Olhovsky. He is buried on Zaretsky cemetery by the cathedral of the Cross Exaltation. Last place of his service is the cathedral of the Cross Exaltation. Here he served since 1933 till his last days in 1938. When they came to arrest him once again, he was already on his deathbed, He had the throat cancer. It has rescued also him from execution. He was 54 then.

He came from Vologda region. His father, Ioann Olhovsky, served as the priest in Byelozersk. Vsevolod studied in the Petrozavodsk theological seminary, was imposed to be a priests and for 25 years served in Vekhruchei. Father Vsevolod had six children. In 1922 he was arrested. After discharging three years later they with the mother have bought a small peasant's log hut, and father Vsevolod has decided to be a peasant, since it was prohibited for him to serve. But he was also prohibited to work on the ground and he was moved from the village. Then father Vsevolod with the mother have moved to Lodeinoye Pole to the senior daughter, mother of Rimma Mihailovna. Rimma's mother, Alexandra Vsevolodovna, at that time was already a teacher upon graduating from Petrozavodsk eparchial school. The principal of the school where the young teacher worked, having found out that her father was a priest and that he was settled in her house, has summoned her and warned, that if her father didn't leave within 24 hours, she would have been arrested. Thus father Vsevolod had to wander from 1925 till 1933 and change lots of occupations.

The churchwarden of the church of the Cross Exaltation was the former nun Evdokia Grigorievna Malysheva. In small cemetry churches of Petrozavodsk services were still performed, poorly populated and... without clerics who did not remain in Karelia. Services were performed by women from the parish, or as they were named, "mothers". The name of one of them was informed to us by the archival documents. The nun Evdokia Malysheva was one of the initiators of opening of the orthodox churches in Petrozavodsk after its liberation from the Finnish invaders. She convinced people of the validity of orthodox belief zealously, called for christening and repentance.

In the post-war years at all the severity of the Soviet life concerning relations of authorities and Church there was the obvious warming related to the patriotic position of the Russian Orthodox Church within the Great Patriotic War. After liberating Petrozavodsk from Finns three orthodox cathedrals were officially open in the city: the cemetry churches - church of the Cross Exaltation and Church of St.Ekaterina and church in Solomennoye.

On October 31, 1944, the cathedral of the Cross Exaltation was returned to the believers. Soon the first priests and the prior have appeared. At that time the theological seminaries open in the USSR in 1944 were overflown with students. Among them there were people who past the war and awarded with awards for service in battles.

The deacon of the church of the Cross Exaltation was Lev Gusarenko ordained in 1947, he has passed the war as an officer, from Moscow up to Kenigsberg, and among many awards he had the award of the Red Star.

The archdeacon of the cathedral Gennady Egorov who has arrived to Petrozavodsk in 1948, began to serve in 1917. In the time of emigration he has visited different countries, served in orthodox parishes in Turkey, Serbia, Bulgaria, France, Germany and China, and he spoke seven languages.

By the decision of the Sacred Synod from July 19, 1990, Leningrad metropolia was divided into three independent eparchies: Leningrad, Novgorod and Petrozavodsk. 41 years later the Petrozavodsk eparchy has received its independent status again.

Visit of Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia to who in July was elected the Patriarch was held on August 13-15, 1990. On August 13 in the cathedral of the Cross Exaltation the Patriarch together with others hierarchs of Russian Orthodox Church has performed consecration of archimandrite Manuil, archpriest of the churches of Olonetskaya eparchy, into the bishop of Petrozavodsk and Olonets. The cathedral of the Cross Exaltation became the cathedral synod temple. The episcopal faculty was located there till 2000.

Prepared by Petrozavodsk eparchy

Technical support
Created: November 21, 2002. Last updated: November 26, 2002.
© State Committee of the RK for ICT Development, 1998-2015