In the crypt of Budolfi Cathedral visitors can see the remains of the large stones used for the original church that was built at the direction of Bishop Eskil of Viborg no later than 1132. The first church was much smaller than the current church since it was a parish church. It consisted of a short nave and choir built in Romanesque style. That means it had half-round arches supporting a flat timber ceiling.
The existing Budolfi Cathedral was built in the last decades of the 14th century over and around the original St. Budolfi Church and was listed for the first time in the Atlas of Denmark in 1399. The church was named after St Botolph, an English abbot and saint. His reputation as a learned and holy man in Anglo Saxon England as the patron saint of farmers and sailors made him a popular saint in pre-Reformation Denmark.
The church was constructed in the Gothic style out of Denmark's most common building material, large bricks. The nave and choir measure at present 56 meters in length and 22 meters wide, exclusive of the weapons porch and extensions.
In 1554 Aalborg was made a diocese and after consideration St Budolfi Church was made the seat of the Bishop of Aalborg. The tower was added to the west front in 1779 with funds given by Jacob and Elisabeth Himmerig. The square 28 meter brick tower is topped with a 35 meter metallic Baroque cupola and spire. Four identical clock faces were installed on each of the four sides of the tower in 1817. The south side has a sundial mounted on it as well. The tower houses four bells. The oldest cast in 1681 by Rudolph Melchior. The largest bell was cast by B. Løw and Son in 1892. In 1899 a sacristy was built onto the north side aisle. During 1942 and 1943 the choir was extended 14 meters and the ceiling vaulting raised. A chapel was also added to the north side.
The main altar piece was added in 1684, a gift of Niels Jespersen and his wife Margareta Erichsdatter. It was carved by Lauridtz Jensen of Essenbæk Cloister near Randers. He also carved the pulpit. The altar was restored in 1980. The altar candelabras were gifted in 1686 by Jens Christense and his wife, Mette Christensdatter. Budolfi Cathedral received the gift of an altar carving from c. 1450 which is placed in the north transept. It came from the estate chapel of Holckershavn also known as Elleborg in southern Jutland.
The black and white marble baptismal font was given to the church in 1728, a gift of the widow Maren Grotum Von Pentz. The pulpit (1692) was a gift from the first apothecary at Jesn Bangs Hus in Aalborg, Johannes Friedenreich and his wife, Magdalena Calow. It was carved by Lauridtz Jensen. The ornate Baroque organ facade was constructed for the Hartvig Jochum Müller organ in 1749. The organ has been restored and expanded several times, the latest in 1959 by Th. Frobenius & Sons.
Several epitaphs have been preserved as examples of what once lined the aisles of the church. The 1583 epitaph for Karine Hansdatter is a fine example of renaissance work. The epitaphs for Jacob and Elizabeth Himmerig in 1773 and 1774 are examples of neo-classical design and commemorate the churches greatest benefactors.References:
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.
In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.