“TheCeļotājs” –
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Saint Nicholas Maritime Orthodox Cathedral – ANNO 1903 
Lat: N56.5529464, Lon: E021.0123729
Studentu rotas iela 7 Liepāja, Karosta, LV-3414, Latvia
 
 
 
 
 
The Saint Nicholas Maritime Orthodox Cathedral is the visual and spiritual dominant of the whole Naval Port Area. The author of the design was the Saint Petersburg’s architect, academician V. Kosyakov and he was assisted by the architect A. Viksel. The executive artist and the author of the mosaics was V. Frolov, the wood carvings and gilding of the iconostas were made by P. Abosimov. The paintings of the central and the right-side alter spheres were produced by F. Railyan and the frescoes of the left-side altar spheres were painted by M. Vasilyev.
 
The construction cost were 0.53 million Russian Rubles, The Cathedral has been designed and erected in the style of the 17th century Russian Orthodox Churches with central and four side cupolas symbolizing Christ and Four Apostles. The central entrance with the two fold door of a filigree work resembles the gate of the Saint Sofia Cathedral in Kiev. Behind the front door there is another one, installed particularly to prevent the people in the church from draughts. The Finnish granite and sandstone were used in the exterior trimming; walls were brick laid of the Estonian yellow bricks. Subtle majolica “Windows” and mosaics add to the exterior. High above the western entrance, from the seaside, the Mosaic Iron of Christ, the Redeemer, is seen; beneath it, the icon of Saint Nicholas, the patron of seamen and travelers. The mosaic icons of the Virgin and Saint Alexander Nevsky were placed by the artist V. Frolov on the southern façade, of Christ, the Savior, on the eastern façade and of Saint Nicholas, the Miracle Worker and of Aleksey, the Russian Orthodox Church metropolitan, on the northern façade.
 
The Saint Nicholas Cathedral was designed for 1500 people.
 
The height of its cupola is 54 meters.
 
 
Drawing of the plans was started on 16 August 1899, when an agreement was signed between the chief construction od the Liepaja Naval Port I. A. Mac Donald and the academician V. Kosyakov of Saint Petersburg. Erection began in May 1901. On 4 June 1901, the Russian Tsar Nicholas Ii with his family members, court people and supreme officers took place in the solemn ceremony of construction of the foundation stone of the Cathedral. The walls were 12 meters high on that day. On 13 October 1902, the first bell was installed in the tower of the Cathedral. The first service in Saint Nicholas Cathedral and church consecration took place on 23 August 1903. Also in this ceremony, the Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family and courtiers took place. In 1905, from Liepaja Naval Port to the Far East to Russian, Japanese War went Pacific Ocean Squadron II. In the Church, services for officers and sailors, they were praying for mariners’ fortune.
 
Upon the outbreak of World War I, numerous items were evacuated to Russia including the bell and icons and the values that had been left were pillaged by the German occupiers. During the 1920s and 1930s, under the Latvian Government, the Church was adapted to the needs of the Liepaja Garrison Lutherans. 
 
Finally, upon conclusion of World War II, the Soviet Naval Base in Liepaja was made a secret territory and was closed to the public. So they established a sports hall, a cinema and the so-called “Red Corner”, a recreation and entertainment room, here in the former Cathedral for the needs of the sailors and soldiers. It was then that the sphere of the central cupola was bricked up in order to avoid the great acoustics and let the navy people listen to the films. The Cathedral does not have any more the marvelous mosaic floor of stone tiles that it used to have before, although the side altar wall-paintings are still under redecoration.
All the four facades of the Cathedral are of significant architectonic and artistic value. Their frontons contain reproductions of the canonized Saint of the Orthodox Church, as well as inscriptions in the Church Slav language and orthography.
 
The West façade central stairs: The Holy Christ Savior’s icon and text.
 
The East façade: The Virgin’s icon and text.
 
The South façade: The Virgin’s icon and Orthodox Church Saint Alexander Nevsky icon and text.
 
The North façade: Saint Nicholas Wonderworker’s icon and metropolitan’s Saint Aleksey’s icon and text, who was premier in Russia during the church building.
 
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Revised: 06/12/2013 – 22:58:57