St Isaac’s Cathedral in St Petersburg

Our afternoon excursion was to St Isaac’s, the fourth largest one-domed cathedral in the world after St Peter’s in Rome, St Paul’s in London and St Maria in Florence. At 101.5 m high and four thousand square metres, it can hold a congregation of twelve thousand. I have seen cathedrals numbers one, two and three, so this was going to be a necessary visit for me.

The vast interior is awe-inspiring! Every wall has a painting, a statue, a mosaic or a frieze. As the cathedral is so big, everything is made up to four times bigger so it has the right perspective. There are no pews in a Russian Orthodox Church as the congregation stand for the service. This must be a real challenge for some as the services can go for up to four hours!

Although there were many visitors in the cathedral, the size if the interior dwarfed the numbers and muffled the sound. Amazingly a person could almost ‘withdraw’ from the world and enjoy their personal spirituality amidst the tourists. This building embraces the religious and welcomes those who aren’t. And surely this is what religion should be about…creating a secure environment for the individual to be whoever they want to be.

I left the cathedral feeling like I had been loved, respected and smiled upon.

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