Church of Our Lady of Kazan
The settlement “Sloboda” was located in the suburb of the pre-revolutionary Irkutsk. The residents of the settlement did not have a high income, so they could not afford to build a church. For a long time, they baptized children, got married and performed other rituals in the prison church of St. martyrs Boris and Gleb. However, the parishioners could not enter the church on holidays and Sundays due to the rules of the prison. In 1885, a new large temple was built under the supervision of A.M. Sibiryakov. The foundation ceremony of the temple was organized very solemnly. On the occasion of the foundation of the church, on June 27 at 11 o’clock in the morning, the ringing of the bells began on towers of the cathedral and church of St. martyrs Boris and Gleb. Two sacred processions moved towards each other: one with the icon of the Our Lady of Kazan, the other with gonfalons, icons of the Savior and saints. Six arch-priests, headed by Veniamin Nerchinsk, Archbishop of Irkutsk, took part in the ceremony as well as the entire high society of the city, led by Governor-General Ignatiev and his wife. A.M. Sibiryakov filed a petition for the construction of St. Nicholas church, but the main chapel was consecrated in the name of the icon of Our Lady of Kazan. Not only rich merchants but also local residents made a strong contribution to the construction of the temple. The building had not yet been painted red, but citizens and simple craftsmen donated what they could to a new "red" church. The building of the church took three years. After the dome was added and windows with colored glass were inserted, the interior painting of the church began. The painting was accomplished by the famous Irkutsk master M.I. Zyazin, a graduate of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. Iconostases and choir galleries for all aisles were performed by V.F. Karataev, carver. All three of the iconostasis were painted with red carmine paint and gilded with gold leaf on fine carvings. Nine bells were forged for the new church. The largest festive bell weighed 358,5 poods, Sunday bell was half lighter – the sound of ringing was heard all over the suburb and merged in the days of great holidays with the ringing of nearby churches: Convent of Holy Mother’s Sign, Transfiguration church and St. martyrs Boris and Gleb church. The church could receive about a thousand people, which fully satisfied the needs of the settlement. The church was surrounded by a stone fence with openwork bars, new domes were painted in blue, gilded carved crosses were placed on the cupolas. The church was solemnly consecrated on the Easter feast of 1892. After the revolution, the church of Our Lady of Kazan functioned until 1936. After its closure, the building housed a book-selling warehouse facility, then a movie technician school, and the “Siberian Souvenir” workshop. In 1980, the Irkutsk authorities made the decision to restore the temple. In the autumn of 1988, the restoration works were performed by the creative and production association "LAD" according to the project of L.I. Gurova, the leading architect of the Irkutsk restoration workshops. In 1990, the works were continued by “Vozrozhdenie” company. The church was reverted to the Irkutsk eparchy in 1994. The interior painting of the temple was accomplished by N. Natyaganov, an artist. In 2011, the temple saw installation of a unique granite iconostasis 12.5 meters high, weighing 70 tons, which had taken three years to manufacture it.