The State Museum St Isaac’s Cathedral –
The Museum Complex
The Friends of the Museum

The “Assembly of friends of St Isaac's Cathedral" unites those who value an artistic heritage and spiritual culture of St Petersburg, and aren’t indifferent to the fate of three unique cathedrals: St Sampson’s, St Isaac's and the Church of the Resurrection (Savior on the Spilled Blood).

 

The activities of the international program the “Assembly of friends” are focused on attracting public attention to the Museum complex “St Isaac's Cathedral”. The mission of the “Assembly of friends" is to help with solving tasks of preservation and restoration of this unique Museum, to support its scientific, educational and exhibition projects.

 

The first meeting of the “Assembly of friends” was held on January 26, 2009. It was attended by prominent figures of culture and art, politicians and businessmen of St Petersburg. Since then, the meetings are being held regularly, taking place in the most beautiful locations, allowing its participants to discuss issues related to the Museum's activities, and socialize in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

 

Due to the help of CJSC Digital Design, CJSC "Sberbank" and JSC "RZD"(Russian Railways) the historic iconostasis of St Sampson’s Cathedral, the sculptural group "Angels with a lantern" and the Great Polyeleos bell had been restored and recreated.

The “Assembly of friends of St Isaac's Cathedral" includes more than 70 organizations and individuals – notable politicians, businessmen, artists and cultural figures.

 

The Supervisory Board of the “Assembly of friends of St Isaac's Cathedral” includes:

A. N. Govorunov – Vice-Governor of St. Petersburg
V. V. Barkanov – Chairman of the Supervisory Board
A. R. Melnikova – the Deputy of Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg
S. E. Tiktinsky – President of RBI Holding
S. B. Kalugin – President of OJSC "Rostelecom"

 

Our partners:

1) The Charity Fund "Renaissance" (the organizer of projects in collaboration with the State Museum-Monument “St Isaac's Cathedral”)
2) PJSC "Sberbank" (supported projects)
3) PJSC "Bank Saint Petersburg" (supported projects)
4) JSC "Russian Railways" (supported projects)
5) LLC "LUKOIL-Severo-Zapadnefteproduct" (supported projects)
6) CJSC holding RBI  (supported projects)
7) The Company Clover Group (supported projects)
8) CJSC Digital Design (supported projects)
9) CJSC "First furniture factory" (supported projects)
10) Hotel Astoria (supported projects)
11) PJSC "Rostelecom" (supported projects)
12) The group of companies MT Win (supported projects)
13) JSC "TGC-1" (supported projects)
14) LSR Group (supported projects)

 

Media partners:

1) CJSC "Kommersant"
2) CJSC "Komsomolskaya Pravda"
3) JSC "Arguments and facts"
4) JSC "Petrocentr" Petersburg Diary
5) LLC "Publishing house "Courier-Media"
6) LLC"T-press" Your Story
7) CJSC Business News Media (Vedomosti)
8)  Gratis Cards
9) Olga Razina Production studio
10) Interfax
11) TV channel Saint-Petersburg

 

Projects supported by the “Assembly of friends of St Isaac’s Cathedral”

 

Restoration projects

 

The restoration of the historic iconostasis of St Sampson’s Cathedral  

 

St Sampson’s Cathedral is the only church in St Petersburg built in the first half of the XVIII century that maintains the original interior and the

unique collection of icons. The main value of the temple – carved gilded iconostasis of the first half of the XVIII century. The images in the main iconostasis were executed by artists A. Kvashnin, A. Pospelov, T. Bazhenov. Many of the icons had cracks and delamination of the paint layer and required immediate restoration and conservation. Preservation of the unique historical icons of the iconostasis of St Sampson’s Cathedral was conducted with the support by CJSC Digital Design.

 

Restoration of the sculptural group "Angels with a lantern"  

 

The figures of the angels with lanterns at the roof corners of St Isaac's Cathedral – are among the symbols of St Petersburg – they harmonize the appearance of the temple, creating a transition from its main scope to the upper part. These sculptural groups were one of the last works executed for St Isaac’s Cathedral by the famous sculptor Ivan Vitali. They were made in the XIX century out of copper, wrought iron and cast iron using the galvanoplastic technique based on the first discoveries in the field of electrochemistry. Due to the years of atmosphere exposure the sculptures were showing signs of corrosion on the inside and on the outside.

 

In 2011, thanks to the support of PJSC “Sberbank” the sculptures "Angels with a lantern" and "Apostle Paul" had been restored, and remounted on the roof of St Isaac’s Cathedral.  In the basis of complex restoration works the innovative methods that ensured replenishment of even the smallest losses and patina on the surface of the sculptures were used.

 

Recreation of the Great Polyeleos Bell  

 

The recovery of the voice of St Isaac's Cathedral was an outstanding event in the life of St Petersburg. All of its bells, cast in the middle of the XIX century out of Siberian copper coins, were lost in the 1930-ies. The first bell cast in 2012 for the bell tower of St Isaac’s Cathedral was the Great (Polyeleos) bell, weighing over 10 tons.

 

The work was carried out according to the old technology on V. Anisimov bell-casting factory in Voronezh with the support of JSC "Russian Railways". On December 14, 2012 the vicar of St Petersburg eparchy Bishop of Peterhof Markell had carried out the rite of the consecration of the Great bell, and on December 19, 2012 it was raised to the northeast bell tower. After 80 years of silence St Isaac's Cathedral had regained its voice.

 

 

Recovery of the cultural values

  

On April 24, 2014 in the framework of the Week of Germany in St.Petersburg upon the initiative of the German side the State Museum-Monument “St Isaac’s Cathedral” had received documents and sketches of the altar paintings and statues by I.Vitali, executed by Johahn Conrad Dorner.

 

Johahn Conrad Dorner - German artist and portrait painter. He had studied at the Munich Academy of Arts, and from 1843-1853 had worked and created in St Petersburg, where he had also received the title of the academic of the historical painting. He had executed a few portraits of the members of the Royal family. In 1847-1852 he had made 12 icons for the altar barrier of St Isaacs Cathedral which separates the central aisle from the side-altars of St.Catherine and St.Alexander Nevsky. The oil painted figures of saints are framed into an ornamental relief background, produced by using gold leaf and quartz sand.

 

After J.Dorner’s death the folder that contained his documents and sketches of the images for St Isaac’s Cathedral had been stored by Pfaff family in Germany. For many years the members of the family were looking for the opportunity to pass the artist’s heritage to the “St Isaac’s Cathedral” museum. They came to St Petersburg with this purpose before but found no response. And only many years later due to the efforts of the scientific director of “Russian museums during war period” project Wolfgang Aihvede, the decision to give the folder as a gift to the State Museum-Monument “St Isaac’s Cathedral” was made. This initiative was supported by the government of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.

 

The ceremony of the return of the cultural values had taken place in St Isaac’s Cathedral in the presence of representatives of the administration of St Petersburg, the government of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, representatives from the diplomatic corps, prominent politicians, artists and businessmen. The Senator for Economic Affairs, Labour and Ports of Bremen Martin Guntner had given 40 objects of Johahn Dorner’s heritage to the director of the State Museum-Monument “St Isaac’s Cathedral” Nikolay Burov. Among the objects were sketches of the Cathedral’s icons, the artist’s notebook with the images outlines, and the international passport with the seal of the Russian Emperor.

 

According to the requirements of the Imperial Academy of Arts the artist had to draw maximum amount of the sketches for every image. That is why a special value of this gift lays in the opportunity to trace the whole process of the creative interpretation of the images, their evolution, and the different stages of the artist’s work.

 

The Chamber Choir of the Smolny Cathedral under the direction of the Honored artist of Russia Vladimir Begletsov had performed at the ceremony. The event had ended with the concert of the soloists of the Chamber Philharmonic of Bremen - one of the most renowned musical collectives of Germany.
After the press conference the exhibition was opened.

 

The press conference was attended by:
- Director of the State Museum-Monument “St Isaac’s Cathedral” Nikolay Burov
- Senator for Economic Affairs, Labour and Ports of Bremen Martin Guntner
- Vice Governor of St Petersburg Vasily Kichedzi
- General Consul of Germany Haike Paich
- Professor and scientific director of “Russian museums during war period” project Wolfgang    Aihvede
- Head of St Petersburg Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russian Federation Vladimir Zapevalov

 

The projected was supported by LSR Group and Hotel “Astoria”
 

 

Exhibition projects

  

"St Petersburg through the eyes of the angels: a view from St Isaac's"  

 

On November 30, 2011 the State Museum-Monument "St Isaac's Cathedral" had opened a new international exhibition project "St Petersburg through the eyes of the angels: a view from St Isaac's", designed to present the cultural values and the spiritual heritage of St Petersburg and Russia overseas. The exhibition of panoramic photos taken from the height of St Isaac's Cathedral reflects the diversity of the city, the subtle nuances and the palette of its moods. The architecture of the Northern capital, reflected in the lens of a camera is presented to the visitor: angels against the city’s background or St Petersburg on the background of the angels. The project had generated a considerable public response, and became one of the significant cultural events of St Petersburg. The exhibition was organized by the State Museum-Monument “St Isaac's Cathedral” and the Charity Fund "Renaissance" with the financial support of PJSC “Sberbank”. In 2011, the exhibition "St Petersburg through the eyes of the angels: a view from St Isaac's", was shown in Clermont-Ferrand, France, in the home city of the architect of St Isaac's Cathedral  Auguste de Montferrand. On July 6-8, 2012 under the auspices of UNESCO the Republic of Khakassia had been hosting the II international historical-cultural forum "Historical and cultural heritage as a source of socio-cultural development". Our exhibition project was presented within its framework. The forum had acquired the status of Federal importance and became the main cultural event of the Republic.

 

In 2013, the exhibition "St Petersburg through the eyes of the angels: a view from St Isaac's" had travelled to Tallinn as part of the XIII festival "Petersburg meetings in Tallinn"; to Narva – for the II international festival of contemporary art of St Petersburg in Narva the "Friendship Bridge"; to Krakow – to be presented at a music festival Sacrum Profanum.

 

In June, 2014, the exhibition was held in the city of Riga - in the framework of "Riga — the cultural capital of Europe 2014"event. In October, 2014, "St Petersburg through the eyes of the angels: a view from St Isaac's", was shown at the Museum and Exhibition Complex of the Azerbaijan State Art Academy in Baku.

 

In 2015, the exhibition had opened in Shanghai, with the support of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Shanghai Committee, in Omsk (M.A.Vrubel Regional Museum of Fine Arts), and in the city of Vladimir ("The Center for promotion of Fine Arts").

 

Nikas Safronov "My world... My temple... My soul..."  

 

On May 14, 2015, the exhibition of works by Nikas Safronov "My world… My temple… My soul…" was opened in the Concert and Exhibition Hall “Smolny Cathedral”. The opening ceremony was attended by the Governor of St Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko and the Vice-Governor Alexander Govorunov.

 

The exhibition aimed to familiarize the audience with the modern outlook on this age-old theme by the artist widely known both in Russia and abroad. The master’s vision in harmonious unity combines seemingly opposite incarnations. The spiritual and the secular are blended with each other allowing one to find his own "path to the Church". The exhibited works demonstrated the artist's ideology, formed by the Orthodox and cultural traditions of Russia...

 

The exhibition was organized with the support of the Clover Group company.

 

Manolis Betinakis "The Divine Images…"    

 

On October 3, 2015, the exhibition of works by the Greek painter Manolis Betinakis "The Divine Images..." was opened in the Concert and Exhibition Hall “Smolny Cathedral”.

 

The opening ceremony started in St Isaac's Cathedral with a joint festive prayer service with the representatives of the Cretan Orthodox Church. After the service the speeches were delivered by the Director of the State Museum-Monument “St Isaac's Cathedral” N.V.Burov, Metropolitan of Ierapetra and Sitia Evgenios, the regional adviser for culture of Greece Usulakis Constantinus, and the mayor of Sitia Theodoros Paterakis.

 

The second part of the ceremony took place in Smolny Cathedral that hosted the exhibition. The exhibition opening was also attended by the painter’s spouse Elena Betinaki, the priests of the Cretan Orthodox Church, and the representatives of the municipality of Sitia.

 

Russia and Greece, Crete. For centuries we have kept close cultural ties. As early as in the XII century the Russian pilgrims had visited the Holy sites of the island. Questions of cultural contacts had been discussed at scientific conferences in Moscow and Heraklion, several exhibitions in Crete and in Russia were dedicated to the issue. The exhibition "The Divine Images ..." was its logical continuation.  It was peculiar for introducing a contemporary artist with the deepest connection to the ancient traditions of the Cretan school evident in all of his works.

 

The exhibition "The Divine images…" gave us a unique opportunity to see the works by Manolis Betinakis assembled from different churches and monasteries of the island of Crete. It presented 41 masterpieces, including icons, a few frescoes and two mosaics. The exhibition covered an almost 30-year period of the creative work of the iconographer. The works at the exhibition were presented surrounded by numerous photographs of the scenery of the certain part of the island, where most of the temples that the artist painted are located. They served as a documentary story about the life and work of the iconographer, accurately conveying the atmosphere of his native lands.

 

The exhibition was organized by the State Museum-Monument “St Isaac's Cathedral”   and State Hermitage Museum with the support of PJSC “Bank Saint Petersburg" and JSC "First furniture factory".

 

"New Vision"    

On December 16, 2015, the solemn opening of the traveling exhibition photo project "New Vision" had taken place in St Isaac’s Cathedral.  The exhibition is comprised of 28 photographs taken by the winners of the contest held by the State Museum-Monument “St Isaac's Cathedral” in the period from May to October, 2015. The works by young, rising photographers and students of St Petersburg universities were accepted for this competition. The project aimed to present the young photographers' vision of St Petersburg and its attractions, as well as of the unique historical complex  “Museum of the four cathedrals” - St Isaac's Cathedral, Church of the Resurrection (Savior on the Spilled Blood), Smolny Cathedral, St Sampson’s Cathedral. The contest featured four categories: "Architecture", "Faces", "Events and Everyday Life." The fourth nomination was presented by the RBI Holding - called “Innovation in tradition" it was accepting photographs of the company’s objects, some of which being objects of cultural heritage under reconstruction.

 

The exhibition was held with the support of RBI Holding.

 

Concerts

 

“Meeting”. Sunday concert in St Isaac's Cathedral    

On February 16, 2014, in celebration of one of the Great Feasts of Russian Orthodox Church — The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple (Meeting of the Lord) the concert of sacred music was held under the vaults of St Isaac's Cathedral. The concert started the tradition of sacred music concerts performed by the Chamber Choir of the Smolny Cathedral under direction of the Honored artist of Russia, artistic director and principal conductor Vladimir Begletsov, together with the stars of the world opera.   At this concert the Chamber choir of the Smolny Cathedral had performed with an outstanding opera singer, the People's artist of the USSR Irina Bogacheva, who had celebrated the 50th anniversary of her creative activity in 2014.

 

The “Meeting” caused such an enthusiastic response that it was decided by the direction of the Museum to give such concerts on a regular basis.
The concert was held with the support of LLC "LUKOIL-Severozapadnefteproduct".

 

“The Songs of Pokrov”. Charity concert
in St Isaac's Cathedral
 

 

 

 

 

On October 22, 2014, continuing the tradition of concerts of sacred music, dedicated to the main holidays of the Orthodox Church, the State Museum-Monument "St Isaac's Cathedral “ had presented a program dedicated to one of the most beloved and revered holidays in Russia - the Protection of the Holy Lady, known as Pokrov.

 

 

In honor of and in memory of the great miracle, which became a symbol of patronage, intercession and consolation, the concert of sacred music by Russian and foreign composers was performed under the vaults of St Isaac’s Cathedral by soloists of the Mariinsky theatre -  Alexei Markov and Maria Bayankina,  and by  the Chamber Choir of the Smolny Cathedral under the direction of the Honored artist of Russia, its artistic director and principal conductor Vladimir Begletsov.

 

Funds raised from the concert were directed for the restoration of the icon of the main iconostasis of St Sampson’s Cathedral "Pokrov of the Holy virgin" (late 1730s).

 

The concert was held with the support of LLC "LUKOIL-Severo-Zapadnefteproduct" and the company Clover Group.

 

"The Saint’s Day". Charity concert in St Isaac's Cathedral    

On June 17, 2015, the charity concert “The Saint’s Day” was held in St Isaac’s Cathedral.

 

The concert was dedicated to the feast day of the Venerable St Isaac the Dalmatian – the Saint particularly revered among the Christians, and the patron Saint of the first Russian Emperor.  Peter the Great was born on St Isaac’s feast day, and in 1710, commanded to erect a Church in his honor.

 

“The Saint’s Day” featured sacred music performed by the world renown opera singer, the People's artist of USSR, the soloist of the Mariinsky theatre Irina Bogacheva; by the soloist of the Mikhailovsky theatre, winner of music competitions Victoria Voitenkova, and the Chamber Choir of the Smolny Cathedral under direction of the Honored artist of Russia, artistic director and principal conductor Vladimir Begletsov.

 

All the donations from the concert were used for the restoration of the original of one the main images of the temple – a painting of St Isaac, written in the mid-nineteenth century by T. A. Neff. Mosaic icon, made according to this original by the masters of the Imperial Academy of Arts, is located in the first tier of the main iconostasis of the Cathedral.

 

The concert was held with the support of LLC "LUKOIL-Severo-Zapadnefteproduct".

 

 

Christmas concert in the Church
of the Resurrection (Savior on the Spilled Blood)
     

 

On December 23, 2015, the concert of sacred music was held in the Church of the Resurrection.

 

The concert featured musical pieces from the “All-night Vigil” by S.Rachmaninoff, compositions by P.Chesnokov, and Russian folk songs performed by the soloist of the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Grand Opera and Covent Garden Denis Sedov and the Chamber choir of the Smolny Cathedral under direction of the Honored artist of Russia, artistic director and principal conductor Vladimir Begletsov.

 

The concert was a holiday gift from the Museum to all the listeners, and particularly to the children from the foster homes of the Nevsky district of St.Petersburg who were invited on that evening.

 

The concert was held with the support of PJSC “Rostelecom”, the group of companies MT Win, and JSC "TGC-1”.
 



Anastasiya Govorunova

Assembly of friends of St Isaac's Cathedral, Project manager


Contact phone +7 (812) 314-16-73