First of all, the other review refers to the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. No buried Romanovs, here. This is in Peterhof, just south of the massive palace of the same name.
If you walk (hike!) in from the train station, you'll see this off to your left, provided you came by the direct route. If you rode in on a bus that dropped you off at the Peterhof, this will be just south of you. It is absolutely worth a side trip. It is very close to the palace gates on the south end, so you have no excuse. Go.
As it is an operating church, no photography is permitted on the interior. No matter: the tented spires outside, reminiscent of the great St. Basil's in Moscow - but more restrained in the dome department, are amazingly good camera-fodder. Get right underneath a spire and aim up with a vertical shot and you'll get a photo that will make the rabble back home "ooh" and "ahh."
We visited around noon when we were there. Turns out, we arrived on on 12 July which is the feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul in Russia. There was a grand procession around the building with choir singing as the bishop carried the icon of Peter and Paul. The atmosphere inside was deeply reverent and the beauty of the experience brought me to sincere tears of admiration. I personally am not Russian Orthodox, but as a Christian remembered Christ's words, "where two or more are gathered in My name, I am among them."
The church itself was first built from 1894-1905. In 1938, it was slated for demolition and confiscated by the USSR. In 1941, the Germans captured it and looted it and then used its towers as observation posts, so they were destroyed in the course of the war by Soviet troops that wanted to deny those positions to the Germans. Restoration efforts began in 1972 and continued on the exterior until 1987, with the interior restoration complete in 1994. The church was returned to the Orthodox in 1989.
Because it was first built in the late 19th Century, the church is an example of a revival of the St. Basil-style architecture that Patriarch Nikon banned back in the 1660s. All the churches in the St. Petersburg area from before around 1880 are in styles that reflect either Greek architectural sensibilities or neo-classical lines. In those later years, however, the ban on old Russian architecture for churches was relaxed and buildings such as this or the Church on Spilled Blood were again possible.
The interior is a moving experience for those that are sensitive to things spiritual. Women must cover their heads when entering, and it is preferable for women to wear a dress inside. Whispering is possible, but not in excess - this is a working building and the faithful there set the example for behavior and dress on the inside. Inside are mosaics, tiles, and paintings that cover the walls in blazes of colorful glory. Candles in every chapel provide reverent illumination for the icons at their stations. There is no English translation, nor is one needed, provided you know a smattering of Russian history and how to identify saints. There's a stunning panel for Alexander Nevsky in one chapel that captures the indomitable spirit of the Russians.
Perhaps I'm biased because of the day I was lucky enough to visit on. But I'll always remember the joyous chorus of bells that rang out as the procession celebrated Peter and Paul on the 12th of July.
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