Aleksander Nevsky Church

The Russian Orthodox St. Alexander Nevsky Church in Copenhagen
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The Alexander Newskij Kirke is a Russian Orthodox church in the city centre of Copenhagen. It was once donated to the Russian Orthodox parish by Princess Dagmar.

Princess Dagmar was a daughter of King Christian IX. She gained insight into the Russian Orthodox faith through her marriage to Tsar Alexander III and wanted to enable the Russian Orthodox community in her hometown of Copenhagen to build their own church. The church was consecrated in 1883 after only two years of construction.

The history of the church

In the middle of the 18th century, the first Russian Orthodox services were held in Copenhagen. However, the congregation did not yet have its own church. At first, the faithful met for prayer in a small chapel in Laksegade and later in Store Kongensgade. At the end of the 19th century, Tsar Alexander III, on behalf of his wife Maria Feodorovna, donated the cost of building a church of their own for the Russian Orthodox believers of Copenhagen. An architectural competition was held, which was won by a well-known Russian architect. In 1881 the construction of the Aleksander Nevskij Kirke began. In September 1883 the chancellor of the Theological Academy in St. Petersburg, Provost Yanysev, together with the priest of the parish inaugurated the new building. Representatives of the Danish royal family were also present at the opening ceremony in the Aleksander Nevskij Kirke.

The architecture

The Aleksander Nevskij Kirke was built according to the plans of David Ivanovich Grimm. He was a professor at the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg and won the architectural competition to build the first Russian Orthodox church in Copenhagen. The architect had previously designed Orthodox churches in Russia and Greece. The church is modelled on 17th century Moscow architecture, which has its roots in Kievan Rus. The traditional architectural style is strongly influenced by Byzantine architecture.

The first Orthodox church buildings were still made of wood. However, there were already many small domes on buildings of that time. They were probably modelled on pagan Slavic temples. Also at the outer facade of the Aleksander Nevskij Kirke there are three splendid onion domes, whose gilded domes rise high into the sky and make an imposing picture for the human eye! The facade is made of grey and red bricks with small sandstone ornaments. High up on the facade, in a niche above the church bells, is an image of Alexander Nevsky, the patron saint of the church. The patron saint was designed with great attention to detail by the Russian-born history and genre painter Feodor Andreyevich Bronnikoff.