The Golden Domes of Riga

Orthodox Cathedral - Riga
 The golden domes of the Nativity of Christ Cathedral stand out above the trees near Old Town Riga. We walk past this large building in the park not far from our apartment. 

The domes shine out to the citizens on sunny days. Surrounded by the trees in the park, the walls of the cathedral are not easy to see in summer, but the size is undeniable.

Of course, the golden domes tell everyone that this is a Russian Orthodox Church. After living in St. Petersburg, that is easy for us to define with the Russian style architecture. This cathedral was built between 1876 and 1883 when Latvia was a part of the Russian Empire under the reign of Tsar Alexander II. 

Main Door

This is the largest Orthodox Church in the entire Baltic area. A massive tower rises toward the sky when a visitor approaches the front door. 

Entryway painting
I visited several orthodox churches during my years in Europe. The thing that they have in common is that the interiors are covered with images from the life of Christ. The walls of these churches tell the Bible stories in pictures. 

Entrance door
Even the area above the inner entrance door had a painting above it. This painting depicted Jesus in the center with His mother, Mary on the left and His disciple John on the right. 

Side altar

The wall above the side altar was covered in images also, but the golden altar drew the eyes of visitors instead of the wall images. 

The iconostasis

The iconostasis in any Orthodox Church was where the main ornamentation was found. This wall of icons, or pictures of the saints, divide the main part of the cathedral from the altar. In the middle of the iconostasis are doors that open only during a service. The worshippers can then see the altar where the Eucharist is kept. 

Golden icon of Mary and Jesus

Since this cathedral is named the Nativity of Christ, I wasn't surprised to see a golden framed icon of Mary holding the baby Jesus. Most of the picture was gold inlaid, but parts of Mary and Jesus were even raised for almost a 3-D effect. It was truly beautiful. 

This visit to the Orthodox Cathedral was truly worth it. It's the most beautifully ornamented building that I've seen in Riga. 

Information taken from -Cathedral-of-the-Nativity-of-Christ



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