St. George’s Cathedral
-the Kaluga region, Kaluga, Baumana Street, 14
(4842) 74-24-68, 74-24-62
A two-storey five-dome stone cathedral with a pyramidal bell-tower stands out due to slenderness of its proportions and rich architectural details. The temple was built in the style of buildings of the times of Alexey Mikhailovich or in the style of “Moscow Baroque”. The structure and outer finishing of the temple has preserved almost in full. This five-dome temple has a shape of a 43 m high and slightly over 32 m long half of a ship. There are galleries resting on Roman arches at sides of the upper floor, through which light penetrates into windows of the lower store. The galleries were first open, but at the end of 1776 were covered with a roof resting on five quadrangular columns on each side. The gallery was fully glazed after the Great Patriotic War. Stairs from both sides lead to the galleries and second floor temple. The main entrance to the lower temple was “from under the bell-tower”, as evidenced by the arch laid at the first tier of the bell-tower. The finishing of altar doors in the lower and upper temple is designed in a Russian style and is made of Myachkovskian stone. Doors remained intact, painted as they were.
Only one side-altar – in honour of Exaltation of the Holy Cross – occupies the second floor. There are three side-altars in the lower floor: the main side-alter – in honour of St. George the Conqueror, the southern side-altar – in honour of Mother of God “Assuage my sorrows” and the northern side-altar – in honour of St. John the Baptist.
The upper temple was painted in 1766-1767, as states the inscription in the altar and on walls. In 1880-1881 is was washed and renovated, without deviations from old writings. Later it was also renovated many times, therefore it is hard to judge the quality of paintings of 20’s of the XVIII century. The lower temple was painted at the beginning of the XX century. The refectory of the lower temple was repainted again in 1999 by icon painters of the Kaluga diocese.
The five-tier iconostasis of the upper temple dates from 1770-1780. Its rather luxurious floor carvings were created in the style of Moscow Baroque. The majority of icons, which we see in the iconostasis of the upper temple, were written specifically for it. As the legend says, icons for the three-tier iconostasis were brought from the former wooden temple to the lower temple when the construction of the stone temple had ended. If we judge by two restored icons of the lower temple – of the Great Martyr St. George the Conqueror and the Great Martyr Parasceve surnamed “Friday”, which are dated by specialists to the end of XVI – beginning of XVII century – then this legend seems to be authentic.
The bell-tower of St. George’s cathedral is one of the most brilliant examples of the architectural type, which was popular in XVII century. The three-tier quadrangle easily distributes octahedral bell ringing and is covered by a high pyramidal top.
There is the main sanctity of Kaluga land – wonder-working Kaluga icon of the Mother of God – in the cathedral. Especially respected icons of the lower temple are: the icon of the Mother of God “Assuage my sorrows” (was painted at the order of merchant Sysoyev, who was faith-cured in Koenigsberg), the icon of Nicholas the Wonderworker, the icon of the Saviour, the icon of the Great Martyr George, saint martyrs Gurias, Samonas and Abibus, the Great Martyr Parasceve surnamed “Friday”.
The most respected icon in the upper temple is the Jerusalem icon of the Mother of God painted in 1740 by icon painter Semyon Faleev. In the altar, there were: the altar cross with particles of relics of nine Pechersk saints.