ROMANOV FAMILY IN TOBOLSK: BLAGOVESCHENSKY CATHEDRAL

For some time after they arrived in Tobolsk, the Romanov family were allowed to attend the local cathedral for services. Blagoveschenie church was located very close to the Governor’s mansion: across the street then diagonally across the town gardens, and across another street to the left.  I did the same walk, based on their own descriptions, and was able to locate the exact spot where the church once stood. 

Governor’s mansion seen from the town gardens in 2018. To the right, outside the gardens,  and across the street once stood Blagoveschensky cathedral.

From Nicholas II’s 1917 diary

“8th September.  Friday. For the first time went to Blagoveschenie church, where our priest has been serving for a while now.  But my joy was spoiled by the foolish circumstances during our procession over there.  Along the path of the town gardens stood the marksmen, and by the church was a huge crowd!  This deeply disturbed me… ”

Blagoveschenie cathedral. The Governor’s mansion was located to the right of this photo, up the street into the foreground.
Blagoveschensky cathedral was demolished in the 1960s and this residential building was built in that spot. In July of this year, when I was in Tobolsk, I spoke with a woman who lives in the area, who told me that her mother witnessed the demolition of the church. Reportedly it was done very quickly and without any warning. Rubble of building, relics and caskets from the chapel tombs were all loaded on to trucks and driven away to an unknown destination, never to be seen again.

Grand Duchess Tatiana wrote to her Aunt Ksenia in a letter dated 18 September, 1917:  “The church here is nice.  One big summer [area] in the center, for the parish service, and two winter ones on the sides.  In the right aisle they had service for us alone.  It is not far from here, we have to walk through town and directly across the road.” 

Blagoveschenie chapel
Modern photo of Governor’s mansion seen from the street where the cathedral was located. On the left is the town gardens.

#InTheStepsOfTheRomanovs

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