22/1, Naberezhnaya Str., Tambov +7 (4752) 63-64-68
Тамбовская область
Church of St. Elijah

Church of St. Elijah is Michurinsk architectural dominant located on the highest place in town and perfectly-visible from everywhere. The broach spire bell tower of the church is also the tallest construction in town – its height is 67.5 m (including the cross on top of the dome – 71 m). The church was built in 1781 with the parishioners‘ funds according to the original project designed in St. Petersburg. The official architect of the construction is Tommazo Adamini but there is a legend that the building was designed by the great architect Rastrelli. There is no evidence to prove any of these theories. Nevertheless, some historians consider the theory of the church being typical for Rastrelli school quite possible. The church was founded in place of the ancient monastery of St. Elijah and initially it was wooden.

The two-storey church called in honor of Elijah, the Prophet, in Michurinsk is a perfect example of the developed Russian baroque combined with Old Russian traditions. New architechtural techniques were used while building the church of St. Elijah: the under-dome space of the first floor didn’t have any intermediate bearings while the forged frame of the broach spire was one of the first case of the metal being used in provincial building for this purpose.           

The church of Elijah has four altars: on the ground floor – in honor of the Nativity of the Mother of God and Great Martyr Paraskeva of Iconium, on the first floor – in honor of Ilijah, the Prophet (the main altar) and the Transfiguration of the Lord. There were several honored sacred objects in the church before the revolution: the patronal icon of Elijah, the Prophet, the ancient image of Our Lady of the Afflicted decorated with 12 diamonds, the duplication icon of the Mother of God of Akhtyrka, the wooden sculpture of St. John the Forerunner of a very fine work, as well as rare editions of the Gospel.   

A serious damage was caused to the church of St. Elijah by the fire in 1865 when one of the priests and several nuns died. In 1924, the church was included into the list of the architectural monuments protected by the state authorities. However, this fact didn’t stop them from taking the domes off and preparing the building to be pulled down in the beginning of the 1930s. Thanks to the famous restorer and painter, I.E. Grabar, the church was saved. Starting from the middle of the 1930s the church housed tractor repair workshops and during the war years – tank repair workshops. The first floor was neglected. Gradually, the iron from the church dome was being taken down and the broach spire was disassembled. In 1945, the church was given back to the believers “for the contribution of believers to the victory over the enemy” and restored with the public funds. In 1947, the divine services were resumed. In 1964, the church was taken away again and turned into a museum of local history. Next time the church was returned to the believers again was only in 1992.     

The territory around the church was beautified: the church necropolis was restored, the park and flower gardens were laid. In 1998, the holy-water chapel was built in front of the church entrance. The honored sacred object was returned to the church – the head of John, the Forerunner, known for its miraculous weeping. Among other sacred objects there are icons with particles of the relics of the holy martyr and healer Panteleimon and the martyr Lyudmila, Princess of Bohemia.

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349, Sovetskaya Str., Michurinsk
+7 (47545) 5-20-75
http://mich-hram.ru/
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