Missing dome and belfry to return back to the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity near Pokrovskiye Vorota
The Church of the Life-Giving Trinity, located near Pokrovskiye Vorota, was built in 1861. The dome, including its tholobate and the belfry that were lost between the 1940s and 1950s will be restored. It is expected that the church once it’s done up will look like it once did.
The church located on 13 Pokrovka Street stands on the site of another Trinity Church built in the mid-18th century which only had one small wing with an additional altar. It was not big enough for large congregations, and so in the middle of the 19th century it was decided to rebuild it. The new building with a refectory was designed by architect Mikhail Bykovsky and funded by churchwarden, merchant and factory owner Yevgraf Molchanov. The new place of worship was much bigger and had three wings: the main one, the northern one and the southern one which embraced the Trinity church’s walls.
The church had a large dome, and a three-tier belfry was built on its western side. The façade in the style of Classicism was decorated with abutments, the column caps were decorated with an acanthus ornament. There were also square-shaped niches with round windows which were not real and a molded horizontal ribbon with a floral ornament. The pediment was decorated with dentils. The arch above the entrance of the church has coffers (sunken panels) with molded decorative elements.
Between the 1940s and 1950s the dome and the belfry were dismantled and replaced by a sloping roof with four sides. The arches inside the church, namely near to the altar and in the refectory, were also destroyed and concrete ceilings were put in their place. Almost all the frescoes disappeared.
“Until the middle of the 20th century, the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity near Pokrovskiye Vorota dominated the part of Pokrovka Street at its intersection with the Boulevard Ring. Unfortunately, after the dismantling job was completed, the church took on the look of an ordinary three-storey building. At various stages in its history it housed a club, a house of culture and various government agencies. In 1992, church services were resumed and from time to time restoration and repair work takes place there. Experts partially recreated the ornamental and molded decorations, dismantled some structures built in the Soviet times, renovated the facades and reinforced the load-bearing walls. However, the main architectural elements – the dome and belfry – have not been restored. The current objective is to do up the church in such a way that it looks like it did once upon a time. Then it’s expected that it will become an architectural landmark on Pokrovka Street,” said Head of Moscow’s Department of Cultural Heritage Alexei Yemeyanov.
He added that the church is a cultural landmark of regional importance, and therefore the project was agreed upon with experts at the Department of Cultural Heritage which will be put in charge of monitoring the job.
In order to recreate the dome, restorers will first build its brick tholobate and a metal roof will be assembled. The dome will have oval-shaped windows with abutments, as well as molded decorations.
The three-tier belfry will also be brick. The top tier will have dormer windows. On the second tier the windows will be decorated with four-column porticos and banisters. The lower tier will have arch-shaped windows and abutments. The notable bells will also be recreated.
Experts will also renovate the outside of the church which needs replastering and painting. Numerous cracks will be patched up and missing decorative parts will have to be recreated. After replastering the church will be painted dark beige.
Restorers will also deal with the inside of the church recreating arches destroyed in the 1940s to 1950s, as well as the icon stands.
Mikhail Bykovsky (1801-1885) was a Russian architect, restorer and teacher. He was born in Moscow and was a student of Italian architect Dementy (Domenico) Gilardi and later became his assistant. In 1834, Bykovsky was put in charge of all the construction work in the city and was appointed director of the Moscow Court Architecture School. He was also the founder of the Moscow Architecture Society. There are several architectural landmarks designed by him in Moscow, including the St John the Baptist Convent at 2 Maly Ivanovsky Pereulok and the St Barbara Orphanage at 37 Shabolovka Street, Bldg 2.
Restoration and preservation of architectural landmarks are a key priority of the Department of Cultural Heritage. Among the recent projects is the renovation of the facades of a military widows’ house in Lefortovo, as well as the Durasov House on Pokrovsky Boulevard, designed by Mikhail Kazakov. Renovation work is also underway at the Vsevolozhsky House in Khamovniky, which was visited by Pushkin, Gogol and Belinsky. The job is expected to be completed in 2021.