Sophia Cathedral

Sophia Cathedral of the Assumption in Tobolsk
Sophia Cathedral of the Assumption in Tobolsk
Sophia Cathedral of the Assumption in Tobolsk

Sophia Cathedral of the Assumption is the oldest church in Siberia and the first brick building outside the Ural ridge. In this form, the temple has been standing for more than 330 years – not a short period, especially considering that its predecessors could not survive for 30 years.

Bishop’s house in the Tobolsk Kremlin. In Soviet times, it housed an anti-religious composition of the local history museum

The history of the cult building on the Tobolsk land began several decades before the construction of the modern church – unfortunately, the first almost 70 years, the church was haunted by failures.

Sophia Cathedral was first erected in Tobolsk between 1621-1624, but less than 20 years later it was completely destroyed by fire. Then, three years later, the foundation was laid, and two more years later, the new St. Sophia Cathedral was consecrated. This time the temple managed to stand for almost 30 years, but in 1677 it was carried away by a terrible fire that raged in the Upper and Lower Towns.

Tobolsk St. Sophia Cathedral in the photo you can see the altar apse.

Then the clergy were forced to ask the king for help in building a stone cathedral. Tsar Fyodor Alekseevich, being devout, gave his consent, and in 1683 Tobolsk became the first city in Siberia with a stone building. The stone church stood even less than its predecessors – it was allotted a little over a year. However, this time, the permits were not to blame for the fire, but for the wrong calculations of the builders – the pillars were too thin to hold the heads and vault of the church, which led to the collapse of the upper part of the cathedral.

The collapsed roof and the restoration of the interior decoration were completed two years later, and on October 27, 1686, Metropolitan Paul consecrated the cathedral, which can still be seen among the ensemble of the Tobolsk Kremlin.

Tobolsk Kremlin with St. Sophia Cathedral

In 1920, the cathedral fell under the anti-religious program of the authorities and was closed, and later, in 1922, all the cathedral’s jewelry was removed from there. For the next two decades, the temple was used for domestic needs, for example, in the 1930s, the organization “Union of Bread” was located here. The grain of Soyuz-Bread was kept under domes until the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. After the war, the building was empty until in 1961 it was transferred to the disposal of the Tobolsk Museum-Reserve. In the 1980s, restoration of the cathedral began, and in 1989 the cathedral was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church.

By 1994, the bulk of the renovation work was completed, and on June 26 the cathedral was consecrated by His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, co-served by archpastors and priests. It is the cathedral of the Tobolsk-Tyumen diocese. It is also the main temple of the Tobolsk Orthodox Theological Seminary. In 2004, the capital restoration of the Sophia-Assumption Cathedral began, which ended in 2012.

Tobolsk Sophia-Assumption Cathedral, consecrated in 1868, became the first stone temple in Siberia
Tobolsk Sophia-Assumption Cathedral, consecrated in 1868, became the first stone temple in Siberia
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