Bertash Alexander, archpriest

The Assumption Cathedral of the Pühtitsa monastery in Estonia as a monument of the russian retrospective style, its builders and benefactors

Bertash Alexander (2021) "The Assumption Cathedral of the Pühtitsa monastery in Estonia as a monument of the russian retrospective style, its builders and benefactors ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia V : Voprosi istorii i teorii hristianskogo iskusstva, 2021, vol. 41, pp. 132-152 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturV202141.132-152


The article contains the history of construction and architecture of one of the most signifi cant monuments of the Russian style of the early 20th century — The Dormition Cathedral of the Pühtitsa monastery in Estonia, built on the site of the dismantled old church in 1907–1910, designed by architect A. Poleshchuk, who is a student of the author of the project of the monastery, professor M. Preobrazhensky. The features of the architecture and the semantics of the dedication make it possible to include it in a number of cross-domed centric churches of Russian cathedral churches and to include it in the iconographic line of the Assumption churches, starting from the 11th century — Kyiv Pechersk Monastery, which shows the conservatism of the volumetric-spatial solution of Orthodox church building with a variety of artistic forms. The architecture of the Pühtitsa monastery cathedral is closest to the type of «large cathedrals» of the 17th century, which is characterized by «church-state content». Cathedral in Pyukhtitsa and a number of cathedral-type churches of the turn of the XIX–XX centuries can be attributed to a special «retrospective» direction of the Russian style. Its prototypes — not only use the above ancient Russian samples, but also centric cathedrals, which were designed by the founder of the Russian style K. Ton («stylization of stylization»). As well as Ton's projects, the churches of this group are distinguished by their monumentality and restrained, not intrinsically valuable decoration, in contrast to the churches in the style of the Moscow-Yaroslavl ornamental pattern of the 17th century, which were built in the 1880–1900s. The architecture of the cathedral, perfectly correlated with the natural surroundings, also has an Estonian fl avor, in particular due to the use of local building materials. The biographies of benefactors and architects who took part in the design of the temple at the first stage, when the construction of a temple with the predominant features of the Moscow-Yaroslavl style was supposed to be considered. One of the architects, A. Vladimirov, with a high probability is the author of the project of the The Church of St. John Climacus in the Moscow Donskoy Monastery — the burial vault of the construction benefactor of the Pühtitsa Cathedral — I. Tereshchenko.


Assumption Cathedrals in Russian architecture, «large cathedrals”, Russian monastery church building, Pühtitsa Assumption Monastery, Russian style, Moscow- Yaroslavl style, retrospectiveism in church architecture, temple builder I. Tereshchenko, architect A. Poleshchuk, Riga Diocese, Archbishop St. Agafangel (Preobrazhensky)


  1. Batalov A. L. (2001) O traditsii stroitel'stva Uspenskikh khramov v Moskovskoi Rusi XVI veka [On the tradition of building the Dormition churches in Moscow Russia in the 16th century]. St. Petersburg, pp. 38–50 (in Russian).
  2. Bertash Aleksandr, prot.(2018) Tserkovnyi zodchii M. T. Preobrazhenskii i ego raboty v Estliandskoi gubernii [Church architect M. Preobrazhensky and his works in the Estland province]. Sed'mye Piukhtitskie chteniia. Materialy mezhdunarodnoi nauchno-prakticheskoi konferentsii [Materials of the international scientifi c and practical conference], Kuremiae, pp. 116–124 (in Russian).
  3. Buseva-Davydova I. L. (2000) Russkoe tserkovnoe iskusstvo X–XX vv. 1. Arkhitektura pravoslavnogo khrama. X–XX vek [Russian church art of the 10th – 20th centuries. The architecture of an Orthodox church. X–XX century]. Pravoslavnaia entsiklopediia [Orthodox Encyklopedia], vol. Russkaia Pravoslavnaia Tserkov' [Russian Orthodox Church]. Moscow, pp. 519–537 (in Russian).
  4. Dmitriev L. A. (ed.) (1980) Kievo-Pecherskii paterik [Kiev-Pechersk Patericon, in Pamiatniki literatury Drevnei Rusi: XII vek [Literary monuments of Ancient Russia: 12th century]. Moscow, pp. 313–626, 692–704 (in Russian).
  5. Drevnerusskoe iskusstvo: Russkoe iskusstvo Pozdnego Srednevekov'ia – XVI vek [Old Russian Art: Russian Art of the Late Middle Ages], St. Petersburg, 2003, pp. 38-50 (in Russian).
  6. Gorodskaia usad'ba Shervudov, «Moskovskie oboznye masterskie» I. F. Tereshchenko — Glavnogo Intendantskogo Upravleniia [Moscow carriage workshops]. Available at: http://www.mosculture.ru/object/48449/ (5.02. 2021).
  7. Kirichenko E. I. (1982) Russkaia arkhitektura 1830 – 1910-kh godov (Russian architecture 1830–1910s). Moscow, (in Russian).
  8. Kirikov B. M. (ed.). (1996) Arkhitektory-stroiteli Sankt-Peterburga serediny XIX – nachala XX veka [Architects-builders of St. Petersburg in the mid XX — early XX century]. St. Petersburg (in Russian).
  9. Kirikov B. M. (1993) Neoklassitsizm v arkhitekture Peterburga — Petrograda [Neoclassicism in the architecture of St. Petersburg – Petrograd]. Kraevedcheskie zapiski. Issledovaniia i materialy, St. Petersburg, 1993, vol. 1 (in Russian).
  10. Kornilii (Iakobs), mitropolit. (2011) Sviatoi pravednyi Ioann Kronshtadtskii, pravoslavnye estontsy i Estoniia [Saint Righteous John of Kronstadt, Orthodox Estonians and Estonia], Tallinn (in Russian).
  11. Krasheninnikov A. F. (ed.) (1998) Zodchie Moskvy vremeni eklektiki, moderna i neoklassitsizma (1830-e – 1917) [Moscow architects of the time of eclecticism, modernity and neoclassicism]. Moscow (in Russian).
  12. Likhachev D. S. (1985) Gradozashchitnaia semantika Uspenskikh khramov na Rusi [City protection semantics of the Assumption temples in Russia], in Uspenskii sobor Moskovskogo Kremlia: Materialy i issledovaniia [Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin: Materials and Research], Moscow, pp. 17–23 (in Russian).
  13. Men'kova I. G. (ed.) (2006) Radi mira tserkovnogo [For the world of church]. Moscow, 2006, vol. 1.
  14. Nashchokina M. V. (1999) Obrazy Srednevekovogo Vladimira v russkoi arkhitekture nachala XX veka [Images of Medieval Vladimir in Russian architecture of the early 20th century]. Arkhitekturnoe nasledstvo, vol. 43, pp. 45–52. Moscow (in Russian).
  15. Shcheboleva E. G. (ed.) (2004) Kupecheskoe stroitel'stvo Ivanovskoi oblasti. Katalog [Merchant construction of the Ivanovo region. Catalog].Vol. 2. Moscow (in Russian).
  16. Slezkin A. V. (2007) Obrazy Moskovskogo Kremlia v arkhitekture khramov neorusskogo stilia [Images of the Moscow Kremlin in the architecture of neo-Russian style churches]. Arkhitekturnoe nasledstvo. Vol. 47, pp. 287–299. Moscow (in Russian).
  17. Uspenskii sobor Piukhtitskogo monastyria: 100 let (Piukhtitsa Dormition Cathedral) [Dormition Cathedral of Pühtitsa Monastery: 100 years]. Kuremäe, 2010 (in Russian).
  18. Varvara (Trofimova), abbess, Timkina V. A. (eds.). (2016) Piukhtitskaia obitel' i ee pokrovitel' sviatoi pravednyi Ioann Kronshtadtskii: monastyrskaia letopis', vospominaniia sester, sviatyni obiteli [Pühtitsa monastery and its patron saint righteous John of Kronstadt: monastery chronicle, memories of sisters, shrines of the monastery]. Kuremiae (in Russian).
  19. Vdovichenko M. V. (2009) Arkhitektura bol'shikh soborov XVII veka [The architecture of the large cathedrals of the 17th century]. Moscow (in Russian).
  20. Viatchanina T. N. (2013) Dukhovno-religioznaia zhizn' Rusi vtoroi poloviny XV–XVI v. i ee arkhitekturnoe otrazhenie v traditsii khramozdaniia [Spiritual and religious life of Russia in the second half of the 15th century–16th century and its architectural refl ection in the tradition of temple building], in Shchenkov A. S. (ed.) Arkhitektura russkogo pravoslavnogo khrama [Architecture of the Russian Orthodox Church], Moscow, pp. 127–174 (in Russian).

Information about the author

Bertash Alexander, archpriest

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in Art Criticism;
Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in Theology;
Place of work: Church of the Holy Royal Passion-bearers in Bremen, Berlin-German Diocese; Kleine Westerholz Strasse, 17, 28309, Bremen, BRD; The limited liability company Architectural Bureau «Liteynaya chast-91»; St.-Petersburg, Russian Federation;
Post: rector of the churc, ancient guardian of the diocese; leading art critic;
ORCID: 0000-0003-3486-0490;
Email: alexanderbertash@gmail.com.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.