Isaac of Dalmatia (also known as Saint Isaac the Confessor) lived in the fourth century in and around Constantinople, and would probably not have acquired any significance for Russians had it not been that his saint’s day on the Orthodox calendar, May 30, happened to coincide with Peter the Great’s birthday.
Peter was hardly a pious man, but he made sure that his namesake city had the finest of churches. Soon after the city was founded, in the early eighteenth century, in fact when it was nothing more than a fortress, the Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral was built within those fortress walls and dedicated to Peter’s patron saint.
A few years later, a church dedicated to Isaac of Dalmatia was established on the other side of the Neva, next to the Admiralty, the spire of which was designed by the Dutch architect Harmen van Bol’es.
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