Construction of the Stone Cathedral
Cossacks were deeply religious people. They did not begin any important business without assiduous praying. The notion of sin was firm: “it’s a sin for relatives to woo brides between them”, “a grave sin to quarrel with parents”. The failure to fulfill the parents’ dying will was considered a grave sin. Anger is also a sin. “We are Cossacks, mild people, anger has passed, and we are willing peace, and this is good because we forgive on earth and we will be forgiven in heaven. So according to the law of God. ” Cossacks keenly felt their spiritual connection with the dead, they were surely commemorated. Vera played a crucial role in ordinary law. Taking an icon and kissing it was considered a means of proving innocence. In many cases, the caught thief did not dare to do it and confessed to the crime. Cossacks honored all the Great Holydays and strictly observed fasting.
Until 1652 there were no churches on the Don, but there were only chapels and houses of worship. It was the cruel requirement of that alarming and wartime. In the historical acts of the first half of the XVII century, only chapels in Razdory, Cherkassk and the Monastic town are mentioned. In Azov, services were held in two Azov churches: John the Baptist and St. Nicholas. There is the petition of ataman Naum Vasilyev and the whole Don Army about sending to Azov “chrism, oil, spare Sacrament, two books of the saints lives, two Church Charters, two laws of the fathers of seven OEcumenical Councils, Menaion printed, so we can for you, sir, God to pray”. After successful defense and abandonment of the city by the decision of the Zemsky Assembly in 1642, the Cossacks had a hard time. Having built a new fortress, in the fall of 1644, the Turks suddenly attacked the villages of the Cossacks, burned everything to the ground. But the Cossacks did not lose heart. April 24, 1644, in many boats all the Don army went down the Don. The Cossacks approached the place where the Cherkasy town of Zaporozhian Cossacks, burnt by the Turks, stood, and began to work actively. An earthen rampart and a wooden fence surrounded the city, placed cannons on the rampart, and inside they divided the territory into the stanitsas. A set of icons is interesting that the Cossacks in 1645 ask the sovereign to replace the burned ones: John the Baptist, Archangel Michael, St. Nicholas, Mikhail Malein1, reverend Eudokei, Alexei, the man of God, St. Tikhon, archdeacon Stefan. The sovereign indicates to make silver casings with carved crowns for the icons, and sides and middles gild with gold leaves.
1The first tsar of the Romanov dynasty, Mikhail Fedorovich, was named after Rev. Mikhail Malein.
In 1652 the construction of a wooden cathedral church in the name of Christ’s Resurrection was completed in Cherkassk. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia links its consecration in the name of Christ’s Resurrection with the faith of the pious Cossacks that everyone who died returns to life through the Resurrection; through the Resurrection, life is renewed and the gates of eternity opens. How many tears have seen the walls of this temple! Tears of wives, children, mothers, comrades, who bitterly mourned those who died defending their homeland. It was not by chance that churches were built in honor of military victories. Because there is no victory that is not accompanied by sorrow, suffering, and the death of people. And when temples were built as a victory monument, people’s belief was manifested in this creation that nothing is forgotten, no one is forgotten, nothing is erased from history, from human memory, even if history and memory are unable to keep all names, because these names, these destinies, these lives, these deaths, are stored by God Himself.
The cathedral church had four chapels: Blagoveshchensky, Predtechensky, Alekseevsky and St. Nicholas. In 1670, during the years of the rebellion of Stepan Razin, the temple burned to the ground, and two years later, another wooden one was built in the same place; but it, in a terrible fire, in 1687, burned down along with the whole city.
At the end of the 17th century, during the Azov battles as a part of the Russian army, Cossacks led by ataman Frol Minaev deserved great respect from Tsar Peter I. They also participated in the Swedish war. During the rebellion of the archers in Astrakhan, they remained on the side of the Tsar and helped to pacify the riot. Bulavin rebellion could not shake their loyalty to the sovereign. In gratitude, despite the fact that all the resources were devoted to the creation of a new capital, St. Petersburg, the king helped in every possible way the construction of a magnificent nine-headed stone cathedral in Cherkassk, and in 1709, arriving in the city, “with his own hands put several stones on the altar wall. “
Until now, the date of the start of the construction of the Resurrection Cathedral is precisely unclear. It is known that the wooden Resurrection Cathedral burned down in 1687. Already in the next, 1688, according to the petition of Don Cossacks, money, church utensils, and books were sent from Moscow to Cherkassk to build a stone cathedral. It can be assumed that at this time there was already a project for the construction of a stone cathedral. In 1695, Peter I granted 100 rubles for the construction of the cathedral – a rather considerable amount. In the certificate of the Ambassadorial Order, for 1704 it is reported that the Cossacks were assisted in the construction of the cathedral in previous years. However, the inscription in the narthex reads:
“To the glory of the holy consubstantial and inseparable Trinity of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit during the reign of Tsar and Grand Duke Peter Alekseevich of the whole great and small and white Russia, the autocrat, with the blessing of his Eminence Metropolitans of Moscow began the construction of this church by the efforts of the Don Atamans and Cossacks under the army ataman Lukyan Maximov in 1706, and ended with the army ataman Vasily Frolovich in 1719 on February 1.”
During a strong fire in August 1744, caused by the explosion of the powder cellar, the iconostasis of the cathedral burned and all gold and silver utensils were melted. After that, the Cossacks turned to the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna with a request for help in restoring the church and its relics. On October 14, 1744, the highest decree followed addressing to the Senate, and then to the Don Cossacks about awarding them thousand rubles for the reconstruction of the cathedral. As a result of the restoration work, the interior of the cathedral became even richer and more elegant. The military ataman Daniel Efremov in 1767 with the blessing of Tikhon of Voronezh, paved the whole church, instead of oak floors burnt in the fire, with iron plates.