The Alexander Nevsky church

 

The parish has existed since 1883. In the beginning, the parishioners were primarily Russian diplomats, military personel, sailors and the Tsar Family during their often visits in Denmark. After the October revolution in 1917, the parish became a centerpoint for the Russian emigrants with H.I.M. the dowager Empress of Russia Maria Feodorovna in the front. Today there are about 250 official members of the parish, from different backgrounds and nationalities. Most are from a Russian background, but among the regular parishioners are Danes, Greeks, Georgians, Serbians, Bulgarians, Romanians and Philippians. Until recently, the parish was the only orthodox christian parish in Denmark and southern Scandinavia. During the services of the 12 great feasts during the year, up till a couple of thousand people from all of Scandinavia participate in the service.

History of the church building:

The history of the church building in downtown Copenhagen is tightly connected with the name of Empress Maria Feodorovna (1847-1928), the danish princess Dagmar, who married Tsarevich Alexander Alexandrovich, the future Emperor, Tsar Alexander III of Russia.

According to the traditions of the Russian Empire, Dagmar converted to the orthodox christian faith and received an orthodox name, and thus became Maria Feodorovna. Living in Russia, the family never forgot “wonderful Copenhagen”, and once a year they would visit the country. One year prior to the coronation of Maria Feodorovna as Empress of Russia, her husband ordered, on 2nd of april 1880, to buy a piece of land for the construction of an orthodox church in Copenhagen near the royal palace Amalienborg.

The next year, 370,000 gold rubles were allocated for the construction of the church (70,000 were from the Tsars personal finances). The project of the building was commissioned by the Tsar to the court architect D. I. Grimm. Here in Copenhagen he received help with the construction by professor F. Meldahl, who was the director of the danish art academy, and also by the local architect A.H. Jensen.

D.I. Grimm created the project in his beloved Russo-Byzantic style (pseudo russian/ neo-byzantine), putting much attention into the facade of the building. The facade consists of red and white bricks, and the first floor of gray granite. The building draws a lot of attention to itself from passerbys, with its specific architecture and gilded domes with mighty crosses on top. The building is build as a “ship” by form. In the whole, the building reflects the architectural style of the time, called by its contemporaries as “the style of Alexander III”. In 1883, after the construction, D.I. Grimm was awarded the Great Cross of the danish order of Dannebrog.

This beautiful and monumental building became one of the attractions of the danish capital.

The Church was blessed with the name of Saint Alexander Nevsky, the name saint of Tsar Alexander III. During the inauguration of the building, the Tsar Family, the danish royal family and many members of different European royal houses were present.

On the fronton under the domes is a niche with an icon of saint Alexander Nevsky. The icon is written on a slab of volcanic stone by the famous Russian artist F. A. Bronnikov, who’s also the author of the icons on the iconostasis. There are six bells on the bell tower, and the beautiful sound of the ringing church bells can be heard from afar. If moving up the marble stairs to the side of the building, with rich ornamented walls painted with selected psalms by King David, You enter the church which is lighted by the sun through the mat ornamented high rounded windows, and during the evening by the magnificent bronze panikandili (chandelier) in the form of a cross if looking from down under, a gift from the Tsar Alexander III. The floor is made of black and white marble mosaics. The walls and the ceiling is rich ornamented with byzantine gilded ornaments on a dark background. The rich ornamented iconostasis cut from nut wood is also something to marvel at.

The church from the inside.

На заалтарной стѣнѣ – картина кисти Бронникова «Христосъ укрощаетъ бурю» (Мѳ.8,23-27). Справа отъ входа – картина извѣстнаго мариниста проф. А. П. Боголюбова «Хожденіе по водамъ» (Мф. 14, 22-36). При взглядѣ на нее, она кажется озаренной внутреннимъ свѣтомъ.

картина Ѳеодора Бронникова «Христосъ укрощаетъ бурю»

По обѣимъ сторонамъ отъ алтаря житійныя картины св. Александра Невскаго, написанные извѣстнымъ русскимъ художникомъ И. Н. Крамскимъ. На первой изъ нихъ молодой князь изображенъ молящимся съ дружиной передъ Невской битвой въ новгородскомъ соборѣ святой Софіи, на другой – послѣдній часъ земной жизни святаго и постриженіе его въ великую схиму въ Ѳеодоровскомъ монастырѣ въ городкѣ Волжскѣ.

Икона св. князя Александра Невскаго справо отъ иконостаса.

Послѣ 1ой міровой войны храмъ Александра Невскаго становится центромъ русской эмиграціи во главѣ со вдовствующей Императрицей Маріей Ѳеодоровной, которая со своими дочерьми, великими княжнами Ксеніей и Ольгой дѣлила участь всѣхъ русскихъ бѣженцевъ, вдали отъ Родины искавшихъ спасенія отъ большевистскаго террора. Вернувшись въ 1920г. въ свой родной городъ, Императрица каждое воскресеніе посѣщала церковь, чтобы молиться и о своемъ сынѣ – Царѣ–Мученикѣ Николаѣ II, въ гибель котораго она отказывалась вѣрить до самой кончины. Здѣсь же 19 октября 1928г. ее отпѣвалъ митрополитъ Евлогій (Георгіевскій) въ присутствіи членовъ датскаго королевскаго дома и другихъ представителей европейскихъ дворовъ. Въ правомъ отъ алтаря углу помѣщенъ большой кивотъ съ иконами и реликвіями подъ стекломъ. Это – «шкафчикъ Маріи Ѳеодоровны», кивотъ съ иконами, принадлежавшими покойной Императрицѣ.

Чудотворная икона Божіей Матери Копенгагенская во время мѵроточія въ 1995 году.

Одна изъ святынь храма – чудотворная икона Божіей Матери «Копенгагенская-Іерусалимская», именуемая «плачущей», т.е. источающая слезы. Эта икона прибыла въ Копенгагенскую церковь, какъ  утѣшеніе для вдовствующей Императрицы, отъ русскихъ монаховъ съ Аѳона. Списокъ съ нее былъ переданъ въ даръ собору свв. Первоверховныхъ апостоловъ Петра и Павла Петропавловской крѣпости въ г. Санктъ-Петербургѣ, въ память о перезахороненіи останковъ Императрицы Маріи Ѳеодоровны въ сентябрѣ 2006г.

Сегодня въ Александро-Невскую церковь приходятъ молиться почти всѣ православные Копенгагена, включая славянъ, грековъ, грузинъ, сербовъ и румынъ. Храм св. Александра Невскаго – яркій примѣръ тѣсныхъ отношеній между царствующими Домами Россіи и Даніи и духовный центръ для православныхъ русскихъ людей, которые живутъ нынѣ въ странѣ.