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The Cathedral of the Holy Wisdom of God (Saint Sophia Cathedral) in Harbin – now the Municipal Architecture and Art Museum – was built by the famous Russian architect V.A. Kosyakov and is one of the outstanding monuments of architecture in Northeast China. In the summer of 2017, according to the historical drawings of the Church of the Epiphany on Gutuevsky Island in St. Petersburg and contemporary photographs, the authors of this article made a project of the cathedral, including drawings of the north, south, east, and west facades, vertical and horizontal sections and ground floor plan. The restoration works were began by the Chinese specialists in the summer of 2018. The article describes the state of the cathedral before and after the restoration work, gives a number of unique materials – photographs and drawings ready for practical use – in particular, for the restoration of the church interior. Unfortunately, there are very few examples of high-quality restoration. According to the “International Convention for the Protection of the World and Natural Heritage”, the authenticity of next four points must be fulfilled: material, design, craftsmanship, and environment. The Russian side is grateful to the Chinese authorities for the preservation and maintenance of the architectural monument in its proper condition, but the identified shortcomings still need to be corrected. There is long, meticulous work ahead to restore paintings, iconostases, candlesticks, etc. Therefore, the restoration work at this moment cannot be fully considered as finished. The authors of the article hope for a joint fruitful cooperation, because the preservation of the architectural monument is equally important, both for Chinese and Russian parties. The gained experience can and should be passed to the future generations.

Keywords: Saint Sophia Cathedral, Harbin, Northeast China, Orthodox architecture, restoration, pseudo-Russian style, iconostasis, church paintings, church utensils, Russian club 

DOI: 10.22250/2072-8662.2020.1.132-141

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About the authors

Sergei Yu. Eremin – independent researcher of the history of Harbin, head of the historical section of the Russian club in Harbin,
member of the Russian Geographical Society; 20 Uborevich str., Vladivostok, Russia, 690091;
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Igor V. Kirichkov – Postgraduate student of Siberian Federal University, scientific researcher,
specialist in commercialization of intellectual activity results, Dmitri Hvorostovsky Siberian State Academy of Arts;
22 Lenin str., Krasnoyarsk, Russia, 660049;
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.