Thirteen domes to designate Christ and the Apostles
The red-brick Orthodox Cathedral was completed in 1868. It is the work of the Russian architect and academician Alexei M. Gornostayev, and is the largest Orthodox church in Western Europe. It is the main church of the Bishopric of Helsinki, which has around 28,000 members. In all, there are some 60,000 worshippers in Finland as a whole. Numbers are rising.
The church itself is dedicated to the Assumption (or "Dormition" in the Eastern tradition) of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and takes its name from the Slavic word "uspenie", which means that falling into the final sleep of death.
The roofing was repaired and the domes were gilded last in 1968, in readiness for the church’s 100th anniversary. As the other article indicates, the downtown seaside location renders the building prone to the corrosive effects of salt and airborne particles.
There are a total of 13 domes, the number of Christ and his Apostles. The largest is around 100 square metres in surface area. No original drawings have been found for Gornostayev's work.
The repair and resurfacing of the domes is estimated to cost in the region of EUR 800,000.
An account for donations has been set up with Nordea Bank, and details (in Finnish) are available from the Cathedral Congregation’s website below.
Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 24.9.2004
More on this subject:
Uspenski Cathedral domes to be given a new golden coat
The Orthodox Church of Finland (Virtual Finland)
Helsinki Orthodox Congregation (in Finnish)
The Uspenski Cathedral (in Finnish, but contains pictures)