Building

Nikolai Grebenko

Plastered facade, brick frame

Sortavala (112) Kirkkoniemi (8) Isidor (2) 1784 (1) Grebenko (1) 1944 (41) finnish era (1) 1873 (9) orthodox church (1) Herman (16) 1925 (22)

The Orthodox church of Sortavala (the term Greek Catholic was used in Finland until 1953) is the town's largest stone building and also the only building designed by a Russian architect prior to year 1944. The first church of the Greek Catholic parish was built in the Sortavala area upon a commission by the town's merchants between 1784 and 1785. The church, located in Kirkkoniemi, was named the Peter and Paul Church. Low quality land on the site caused rapid dilapidation of the church, and in 1825 the Governor General demanded the construction of a stone church. The parish did not have sufficient funds for this until 1869, when Isidor, the Metropolitan of Saint Petersburg, Novgorod and Finland, directed to the project a lottery win donated to the church by Commercial Counsellor G.P. Yeliseyev. Yeliseyev sent to Sortavala architect, Counsellor of State Nikolai Grebenko (1820–1880). The construction of the church designed by Grebenko was first started on plots next to the old site, but the quality of the soil was once again too poor. In the end, an entire block was designated for the project, and the new Peter and Paul Church was completed in 1873.
The Greek Catholic Church of Finland was part of the patriarchy of Moscow until 1923, when it joined the patriarchate of Constantinople. In 1925, Peter and Paul Church became a cathedral when the Church Synod decided to move the Church Council from Vyborg to Sortavala after electing bishop Herman of Karelia as the Arch Bishop of the Orthodox Church of Finland.

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