The cathedral is a symbol of beauty, holiness and spiritual power of the ancient city of Staraya Russa. The cathedral was preceded by a small wooden church, dedicated to Intercession of the Holy Mother of God, that fell into decline. In 1692-1696, thanks to the efforts and dedication of the church’s elder Mikhail Somrov and his parishioners, and with the blessing of Metropolitan Cornelius of Novgorod, a new larger cathedral was built to commemorate Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In memory of the former church, one of its side-chapel altars was consecrated as the Intercession Altar. Another altar, dedicated to John the Baptist, along with the cathedral’s main altar received their names after the cathedral nearby. The Intercession Altar was finished first and consecrated with the blessing of Metropolitan Euthymius in October 1607. In 1705, with the blessing of Metropolitan Job of Novgorod, the main altar was consecrated and in 1708, under the same metropolitan, the second side-chapel altar was dedicated to the Nativity of St John the Baptist.
On 4 May 1788, the list of the Staraya Russa Miraculous Icon of the Holy Mother of God, created at the request of the cathedral’s elder, Ilya Krasilnikov, was transferred to the cathedral in a ceremony attended by numerous people.
In 1791-1801, the former rundown bell tower was replaced with a new three-level belfry. In 1811, a clock with eight bells, created by Tula craftsmen on the donations from Staraya Russa merchant Mikhail Somrov, were fitted into the top level.
In 1828-1833, the Resurrection Cathedral was rebuilt by prominent Russian architect Vasily Stasov. Almost during the same time, in 1835, the fourth level of the belfry was built on the city’s funds.
The most recent significant changes to the cathedral’s appearance were made in the early 20th century, after a major renovation funded by donations and supervised by the Imperial Archaeological Commission. According to the 1910 records, the iconostasis of the main altar had five tiers.
The cathedral was closed in 1936 and taken over by a local history and lore museum in 1937. The Nazis used the church as a horse stable during the Great Patriotic War. After the war, a cinema was opened in the cathedral. Later, the building was turned into a glassware storage. In 1985, a museum of the Northwestern Front opened in the cathedral.
In 1992, the Resurrection Cathedral was returned to the Novgorod Diocese. On 1 October 1992, the cathedral was consecrated by Archbishop Leo. The archbishop’s deep interest in the sanctuary has served for the benefit of the cathedral. In 1994, Archbishop Leo appointed protopriest Ambrose Dzhigan the cathedral’s archpriest. With great love, care and wisdom, Father Ambrose began building the parish. The number of members grew; more helpers and philanthropists joined the community. A library opened. Since 1996, the cathedral has hosted spiritual music festivals during the Christmas holidays that are greatly enjoyed by the public. In 2007, the Resurrection Cathedral was included in the Federal Development and Restoration Programme.
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