Russisch-Orthodoxe Kirche der heiligen Elisabeth

Russisch-Orthodoxe Kirche der heiligen Elisabeth (Google Maps)
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The Russian Orthodox Church in Wiesbaden was built from 1847 to 1855 by Duke Adolf of Nassau on the occasion of the early death of his wife, the 19-year-old Russian princess Elizabeth Mikhailovna, Grand Duchess of Russia and Duchess of Nassau (1826-1845).[1] This was the daughter of Michael Romanov (1798-1849), the younger brother of Tsar Alexander I (reigned 1801-1825) and Nicholas I (reigned 1826-1855). Adolf and the princess married in 1844, but the following year, she died in childbirth, as did their newborn daughter. He grieved so profoundly that he decided to build a church around her grave. He obtained the money for this church, with the blessing of Tsar Nicholas, from her dowry.

Construction of the church was assigned to senior building officer (Oberbaurat) Philipp Hoffmann, who studied Russian church architecture, particularly at first in Russia. As a template for this church, he took the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. On 25 May 1855 the church was finally dedicated in honour of St. Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist and patron saint of the deceased princess. Shortly afterwards, the coffin containing the late princess and her baby was taken in a procession from the Bonifatiuskirche, its previous temporary shelter, into the crypt of the Russian church and buried there.

Simultaneously with the construction of the church were built a small rectory and a Russian cemetery, located about 100 meters northeast of the church.

The church was used by the already-existing Russian Orthodox community, mainly comprised of Russian guests, for whom Wiesbaden was a popular resort in the 19th century. Even Tsar Nicholas II worshipped in the church during his stay in Germany, together with his newly wedded-wife, the Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna. This event is noted on a gold panel attached to the church.

A lasting community formed around the church only in the 1920s, when many White Emigres fled in the wake of the Russian Revolution, the Russian Civil War and the Bolshevik takeover of their country and came to Germany.

In the 1990s, the interior of the church was fully restored because over time, the marble and frescoes in the church had been exposed to the weather and other sources of damage. Between 2002 and 2005 the inside of the crypt was renovated.
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