Sant'Anastasia curch was built between the late 3rd and early 4th century, possibly by a Roman woman named Anastasia. The church is listed under the titulus Anastasiae in the acts of the 499 synod. Later the church was entitled to the martyr with the same name, Anastasia of Sirmium.
The church was restored several times: Pope Damasus I (366-383), Pope Hilarius (461-468), Pope John VII (705-707), Pope Leo III (795-816), and Pope Gregory IV (827-844). The current church dates back to the 17th century restoration commissioned by Pope Urban VII.
Traditionally, the church is connected to the cult of St Jerome, who possibly celebrated mass here. The saint is depicted over the altar, by Domenichino.
The last restoration, after the restoration during the papacy of Sixtus IV, occurred in 1636, when the facade, with lower doric and upper ionic order, was reconstructed in 1636, after the cyclone of 1634. The nave recycles antique columns. The ceiling is frescoed with a martyrdom of the saints (1722) by Michelangelo Cerruti.
The chapel to the right, has a painting of St. John the Baptist by Pier Francesco Mola. The right transept has a painting of S.Toribio (1726) by Francesco Trevisani. The high altar has a Nativity by Lazzaro Baldi and below the altar is a statue of Saint Anastasia by Ercole Ferrata. It clearly shows the influence of Bernini's Beata Ludovica Albertoni. The left transept has a Madonna of the Rosary by Baldi, and the tomb of Cardinal and philologist Angelo Mai by the late neoclassical sculptor Giovanni Maria Benzoni. The last chapel to the left, by Domenichino depicts a St. Jerome. The other chapel has a Ss.Giorgio e Publio by Etienne Parrocel.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.