From 1712 to 1714, a wooden church dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel was built at the place of the present church. Peter the Great ordered to construct it in honour of the Name Day of his eldest daughter Anna Petrovna. After it became dilapidated, Tsarina Anna Ivanovna ordered to build a new stone church.
In 1731, architect Mikhail Zemtsov elaborated a drawing. In the same year, construction of the stone, one-dome church with a faceted cupola on a high wooden drum began. By 1734, the Church was mostly finished. A low refectory adjoined the central volume, and a small four-storey bell tower rose over its entrance. This design was peculiar to ancient Russian churches. To say the truth, the bell tower was crowned with not a traditional tent but a thin spire peculiar to St. Petersburg of Peter the Great's time.
The architect's creative personality is characterized by expressive balance between the massive complex drum and the small elegant four-part bell tower, as well as by an order system effectively employed including rhythmically used spacial elements such as columns, pilasters, and others. First, the Church's facades were adorned with plenty of wooden statues.
On 27 January, 1734, the Church was solemnly consecrated. The ceremony was attended by Empress Anna Ivanovna. The Church's high altar was dedicated to St. Simeon the Righteous and St. Anna the Prophetess. The side chapels were consecrated in honour of St. Michael the Archangel (right) and St. Ephrem the Syrian (left). Late in 1772, another side chapel dedicated to St. Eustace was arranged in the Church and consecrated on 16 February. However, in 1802, it was abolished.
The Church's interior rooms were decorated with picturesque paintings. The walls were separated by composite pilasters. The pilaster capitals at the bottom level were stucco; at the top, they were calorific, painted with gold on purple background.
An exceptionally beautiful icon stand was the pride of the Church. Its creation is ascribed to the Most Reverend Stefan Yavorsky and the Right Reverend Theophan Prokopovich. The most valuable sacred objects include the Nativity Icon made in Holland, kept in the altar, and painted on wood boards in 1630, the Three Handed Virgin Icon, a large gospel book with a gilded cover printed in Kiev in 1707, a large silver ciborium dated back to 1730, and a large silver communion cross with relics made in 1716.
It was a court church. Before a predecessor of the modern Kazan Cathedral was built, all special ceremonial services attended by the city clergy were held there.
Paul I awarded the Order of St. Anna to the Church. Its wooden symbol was attached above the main entrance. A special seat decorated with crimson velvet was arranged for the Emperor on the right side of the altar. The Church became an order sanctuary for the Russian bearers of the Order of St. Anna.
In 1802, the Church became diocesan. Thus, the Emperor's seat and the Order were removed. Only a kingly crown fixed instead of a ball under the dome cross reminded of past importance of the Church for a long time.
The Church with the three-storey bell tower crowned with the spire is one of the best works by the talented Zemtsov, who creatively used traditional techniques of Old Russian architecture. Despite the partially rebuilt interior rooms (the most significant reconstruction took place from 1869 to 1872, when according to the design by Georg von Winterhalter, a side chapel dedicated to the Three Handed Virgin Icon was arranged over the sacristy and consecrated on 17 October 1871), the Church is one of the well preserved architectural monuments dated back to the first decades of the city existence.
In January 1938, the Church was shut down. For some time, its rooms were occupied by warehouses and were severely damaged. From 1951 to 1954, the Church was restored under the supervision of architect Vitaly Maslennikov and handed over to the Metrology Museum.
In 1991, the building was handed back to the St. Petersburg diocese. On 1 January 1995, the Church was consecrated again.
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