The Holy Trinity Cathedral is the main church of Pskov and Pskov land. It happened before Rus was baptized: Princess Olga standing on the left bank of the Velikaya river pointed at the place illumined by several rays of sunlight. Seeing the miracle, she predicted that the town would become great and that a church of the Holy Trinity would be built on the place where the rays of light met. For many centuries the Kremlin and the Trinity Cathedral became the holy symbols of Pskov and the whole of Pskov land. However, fate and history were not always kind to them.
Today’s Cathedral is the fourth at the same place. According to a legend, the first one was erected on the order of Princess Olga in the 10th century. The Trinity cathedral was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century. Subsequently, the holy relics of its creator, Prince Vsevolod-Gavriil, were placed the church.
The Cathedral, that we have today, was erected in 1682-1699. Several times there were fires in the cathedral and both the interior and exterior of the church were restored. The Cathedral had two floors, the ground floor obviously being the basement of the previous church.
Festive rites and services, baptizing, princes’ enthronement took place in the Trinity Cathedral. The Veche (People’s Assembly) gathered by the Cathedral’s walls, those gatherings often led to brawls, in which the participants could get injuries. The Russian word “uvechje” meaning “injury” is related to the word “Veche” — the name of those people’s assemblies... The cathedral was the place where most important documents were kept. Pskov warriors got blessings here before battles and this was the burial place of the defenders of the town. Two swords were kept in the Cathedral, symbolizing its people’s independence and courage. One of them was the sword of prince Dovmont. “I will never surrender!” — was written it.
The Trinity Cathedral stands on a high cape at the confluence of the Velikaya and the Pskova rivers inside the fortress walls of Pskov Kremlin.
You can see the 78 meters high snow-white Cathedral when you are far away from Pskov. It is the highest building of ancient Pskov. High in the sky glitters in the sun the central dome of the cathedral-the symbol of the Holy Trinity, that was the symbol of Pskov land. The dome’s surface is 300 square meters. 1,310 grams of gold leaf were used to gild it in the second half of the 20th century. Four other domes symbolize Saint Evangelists: St. Mathew, St. Mark, St. Luke, St. John.
There is a lot of light inside the church. Inside the church amazes you with is height and the high iconostasis. The seven-tired, wooden, carved, gilded iconostasis of the Trinity cathedral is one of the most grandiose iconostases of the 17-18th centuries, which have survived to our day. The domes inside are painted with stars and clouds as symbols of heaven.
It’s impossible to imagine Pskov without the Trinity Cathedral. Its silver domes are up in the sky, aspiring to the eternity. A mighty bell tower is standing next to the cathedral. A cross which is called “Olga’s cross” is one of the relics of the Cathedral. It was made in 1623 as a copy of an ancient cross, which, according to a legend was made by order of Princess Olga. This relic burnt in the fire in 1590. There were other relics venerated by Pskov people as well, which were kept in the cathedral. Among them was the sword of Prince Vsevolod-Gavriil. Even Peter the Great, who was a strong person and whose stature was known to be above average, was surprised to see how big this sword was.
Another venerated object in the church is the reliquary containing the holy relics of venerated city saints: Pskov princes Vsevolod-Gavriil and Dovmont-Timofey, venerable martyr Iosaph, the head of Snetogorsky monastery and blessed Nicholas, a Wonderworker. Pskov people especially venerate the miracle-working icon of the Virgin Mary “Chirskaya”. It was brought to the Cathedral in 1420 in the memory of a plague which was stopped after people prayed in front of this icon. Pskov chronicles mention this event.
The Trinity Cathedral is not only our history, it’s our present, it is something inviolable and immortal, that unites different people, different cultures and different epochs…