Petit Futé's opinion on NOTRE-DAME-DE-KAZAN CATHEDRAL
Inspired by Saint-Pierre-de-Rome, its darkness and acoustics are magnified by the depth of the orthodox songs
Thought to be a copy of Saint Peter of Rome, the construction of Notre-Dame-de-Kazan was decided at the beginning of the 19th century by Paul the First. If the austere lines of the double colonnade only partially evoke the Vatican, Russians like to sit, as in Rome, on the small benches installed in the garden in front of the cathedral. Inside, the volumes are impressive and the glow of the candles seems more intense because of the darkness that reigns in the church.
The decoration is rich, but the new look of the iconostasis owes nothing to chance - the original iconostasis was melted down by the Soviets in the 1930s, before the cathedral was turned into a museum of Atheism for 60 years. As if to chase away the memory of this fate, a line of fervent believers crowded in front of the icon of the Virgin of Kazan who gave victory to the Russian armies defending the homeland, from Ivan the Terrible to Kutuzov, who defeated Napoleon in 1812 thanks to the fire that destroyed Moscow while the Great Army was there. One willingly sacrifices to the cult of the fatherland: memories of the great patriotic war waged against the French troops are piously preserved (notably the standards and trophies of the Grande Armée ravished by the Russian troops during the rout of the Berezina).
As a result, the cathedral looks like a Russian replica of the chapel of the Invalides. Marshal Kutuzov, the great strategist of the War of 1812 against Napoleon's armies, is buried in this temple erected to the glory of the imperial army by Tsar Alexander I. At the same time, he honoured the memory of his father Paul I, whose murder he never forgave himself for having tacitly condoned. The iconostasis of the cathedral was made of solid silver. Plundered by the French, then taken over by the Cossacks, it is finally melted down by the Soviets and sold abroad. The commemorative importance of the Cathedral grows with the inauguration of the monuments to Kutuzov and Barclay of Tolly, another hero of the War of 1812. In 1813, Kutuzov was buried in the northern chapel, where he had gathered a year earlier in front of the icon of the Virgin of Kazan, imploring him to save the homeland. Monuments in honor of the two heroes have been erected on Kazanskaya Square since 1837.
The volumes also give the cathedral a very beautiful acoustics which is revealed during the daily orthodox liturgies with low chanting.
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Opening time and information on NOTRE-DAME-DE-KAZAN CATHEDRAL
Open every day from 6:30 am to 7:45 pm. Free admission.
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