Sevastopol: Tomb of the Admirals – What Not Everyone Knows…

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Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

22nd February, 2016


In Sevastopol, on the Central hill, is St. Vladimir’s Cathedral. Due to the fact that the city has two large Cathedrals, consecrated in honor of St. Vladimir, sometimes there is confusion. So the townspeople assigned this Cathedral the name of “Tombs of the Admirals”. Outside the walls of the Cathedral are a set of mounted plates with the names of four admirals, three of whom participated in the defense of the city in the Crimean war and died on the bastions.

2. In 1825, the chief commander of the black sea fleet and the ports, Admiral A.S Graig, asked for Supreme permission to install a monument on the ruins of Chersonese — the place where Prince Vladimir was baptized. In 1836, Admiral M.P Lazarev appealed to Emperor Nicholas I with a request to build a Cathedral on the ruins of Chersonesos, and in the center of Sevastopol.

3. In 1843, on the personal order of the Tsar, the place of construction of the Cathedral on the Central hill was determined. In 1851, Admiral Mikhail P. Lazarev died, commander of the black sea fleet and Governor of Sevastopol. In memory of his prior merits the city decided to bury him in a crypt at the future construction site.

4. On 15 July 1854, on the eve of the initial defence, the laying of the five-domed Cathedral under the project of K.A Thon took place. Before the defense of Sevastopol they were able to lay the foundation and build a basement.

5. During the first defense of Sevastopol, in the same crypt, Admiral Pavel Stepanovich Nakhimov and rear-Admiral Vladimir Ivanovich Istomin were killed and buried on the ramparts of the city.

6. And also Vice-Admiral Vladimir Alexeyevich Kornilov. These are the admirals, including Lazarev,  that are inscribed on diorite slabs on the facades of the Cathedral.

7. But not everyone knows that buried in the temple are nine admirals! Now we go down to the lower Church and I’ll show you everything.

8. Here is a small side door that leads to the crypt.

9. And here is the lower Church with an underground crypt, where the four aforementioned Admirals lie.

10. Gravestones are laid out in the shape of a cross. During the occupation of Sevastopol the crypt was desecrated by French marauders who cracked the wall, broke the lid of the sarcophagus and tore the golden epaulettes off the admirals’ uniforms.

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15. And on either side of the Central crypt are the other nine buried admirals who found repose in the Cathedral: P.A Pereleshin, P.A Karpov, M.I Defabr, V.P Schmidt, I.M Dikov — participants of the first defense of Sevastopol, S.P Tyrtov, G.P Chukhnin, M.P Sablin — the Black Sea fleet, I.A Shestakov — Manager of the Marine Department in the 1880’s.

16. Unfortunately the names of these admirals are rarely mentioned in handbooks and descriptions of the Cathedral.




20. And this is a little decoration of the Cathedral. It hosts services, celebrations and military ceremonies. On the inner walls of the Cathedral are the names of the Officers, recorded with lead letters, who distinguished themselves in the defense and were awarded the order of St. George.

21. At one of these rituals when I visited a couple of years ago. On the day of St. Andrew, Metropolitan Lazar of Crimea performed the consecration of St. Andrew’s flags of the ships and parts of the Black Sea fleet.


23. On that day in Sevastopol they brought a copy of the Godenovskogo cross and arranged a procession of blessing with the waters from the bays of Sevastopol.

24. Frescoes of the Vladimir Cathedral were painted by the renowned artist and academician A.E Korneev; an ornamental painting on the walls and roof was completed by Swiss artist R. Izelli.

25. The inside of the Cathedral is lined with Carrara marble.

26. Marble work (facing columns, the iconostasis and Kliros) — sculptor from Italy, V. Bonanni.

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