Holy Resurrection Cathedral

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Holy Resurrection Cathedral
Tokyo Holy Resurrection Cathedral
Nickolai Cathedral
Tokyo Resurrection Cathedral 201000.jpg
Tokyo Resurrection Cathedral also known as Nikorai-do
Holy Resurrection Cathedral
Location Chiyoda ward Tokyo
Country Japan
Denomination Eastern Orthodox (Russian Orthodox Church)
Website nikolaido.org
Status Cathedral
Founded8 March 1891 (1891-03-08)
Founder(s) St. Nicholas of Japan
Past bishop(s)Theodosius Nagashima, Vladimir Nagosky, Sergius (Tikhomirov)
Associated peopleFr Paul Sawabe, Yakov Tikhai, Victor Pokrovsky
Functional statusActive
Architect(s) Shinito Okada (current building)
Architectural type Cathedral
Style Byzantine Revival architecture
Years built1929 (current building) (1891)
Archdiocese Japanese Orthodox Archdiocese of Tokyo
Bishop(s) Metropolitan Daniel (Nushiro) of All Japan and Archbishop of Tokyo.

Holy Resurrection Cathedral (復活大聖堂, fukkatsu daiseidō, Russian: Токийский собор Воскресения), also known as Nikorai-do (ニコライ堂, nikorai-dō), in Chiyoda, Tokyo, is the main cathedral of the Japanese Orthodox Church.



The founder of the Japanese Orthodox Church Ivan Dmitrievich Kasatkin (1836-1912), later St. Nicholas of Japan, was an archbishop who devoted himself to improving Japanese-Russian relations during the Meiji period. [1] He selected the location on the hill at Kanda Surugadai. The site is on a height that overlooked the Imperial Palace. Today it is hidden among the many tall buildings erected since the 1960s.

St. Nicholas toured Russia raising funds for the Cathedral. The edifice was planned by Dr. Michael A. Shchurupov, designed by Josiah Conder, and constructed by Nagasato Taisuke. The Cathedral was completed on March 8, 1891, construction having begun seven years earlier. Depictions of its exotic Byzantine architecture and the unique sound of its bell often appeared in literature and illustrations of the day.

The original Cathedral was seriously damaged in the Great Kantō earthquake of September 1923. The main bell tower fell on the dome, collapsing it, thus causing major damage to the Cathedral. Rebuilding the cathedral became a major task for the then-ruling bishop, Archbishop Sergius (Tikhomirov), who succeeded St. Nicholas after he died in 1912. Since Russia was no longer a source of funding, Archbishop Sergius had to look for funding within Japan. A significant amount of funding was raised by numerous concerts by the Cathedral choir, led by Victor A. Pokrovsky. The re-built Cathedral was re-consecrated on 15 December 1929, with a shorter bell tower, a modified dome, and a less ornate interior, according to design by Okada Shinichiro.

Despite the damage caused during the 1923 earthquake, the restoration preserved important original aspects of the building, as well as the adding new aspects of cultural importance. The Agency of Cultural Affairs conducted a survey of the building, and on June 21, 1962, Nikolai-do became a, Nationally Designated Important Cultural Property (国定重要文化財, Kokutei jyuyou bunkazai). [2]

Related Research Articles

Nicholas of Japan

Saint Nicholas (Kasatkin), Equal-to-the-Apostles, Archbishop of Japan, born Ivan Dmitrovich Kasatkin was a Russian Orthodox priest, monk, and bishop. He introduced the Eastern Orthodox Church to Japan. The Orthodox cathedral of Tokyo, Tokyo Resurrection Cathedral, was informally named after him as Nikorai-do, first by the local community, and today nationwide, in remembrance of his work.

Orthodox Church in Japan

The Orthodox Church in Japan is an autonomous Eastern Orthodox church within the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Sergius (Tikhomirov)

Metropolitan Sergius was a bishop of the Orthodox Eastern Church. He first served in Russia, but spent most of his episcopate in Japan in the Russian Orthodox Christian mission and in the Japanese Orthodox Church.

National Museum of Nature and Science

The National Museum of Nature and Science is in the northeast corner of Ueno Park in Tokyo. The museum has exhibitions on pre-Meiji science in Japan. A Life size blue whale model and a steam locomotive are on display outside.

Victor Alexandrovich Pokrovsky was a choir director, translator, and music arranger. He worked for the Metropolitan Sergius (Tikhomirov) at Holy Resurrection Cathedral from 1924 until 1962—except for during World War II and some of the first decade after the war. He followed in a tradition of Russian missionaries of bringing the Gospel to new people in their language. In Japan, he followed in the tradition of Ss. Innocent of Moscow and Nicholas of Japan, and of Nicholas's successor Sergius. In regard to liturgical music of the Japanese Orthodox Church, Victor Pokrovsky was to Sergius as Yakov Tikhai was to St. Nicholas. Victor successfully brought the Russian liturgical music masters to the Japanese in their own language. Metr. Sergius invited Victor, an émigré of the Russian civil war, to Tokyo to help him introduce 19th and 20th century Russian liturgical works in Japanese. Their close collaboration continued until World War II brought it to an end.

Important Cultural Property (Japan) item judged by the Agency for Cultural Affairs to be of particular importance to the Japanese people

An Important Cultural Property is an item officially classified as Tangible Cultural Property by the Agency for Cultural Affairs and judged to be of particular importance to the Japanese people.


Sanbutsu-ji is a Buddhist temple in the town of Misasa, Tottori Prefecture, Japan. The Nageire Hall of Sanbutsu-ji, built in the Heian period is designated a National Treasure of Japan.


Byakugō-ji (白毫寺) is a Buddhist temple in Nara, Japan. A number of wooden statues of the Heian and Kamakura periods have been designated Important Cultural Properties and the temple's five-coloured camellias are a Prefectural Natural Monument.

Okuma Auditorium

The Ōkuma Auditorium, officially the Waseda University Ōkuma Memorial Hall, is a Tudor Gothic auditorium of Waseda University in Totsuka, Shinjuku, Tokyo. Designed primarily by Kōichi Satō, construction of the auditorium was planned to begin in 1923 following the death of Waseda founder Ōkuma Shigenobu. Its construction was halted by the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake but eventually began in 1926. It opened in 1927, commemorating the 45th anniversary of the founding of Waseda University. The auditorium includes a large hall with a capacity of over 1,100 seats and a basement hall of about 300 seats. The university's activities, lectures and concerts are held in the auditorium. The clock tower chimes six times a day.

Tairyūji or Tairyū-ji is a Koyasan Shingon temple in Anan city, Tokushima Prefecture, Japan. Temple # 21 on the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage. The main image is of Ākāśagarbha Bodhisattva.


  1. Kenworthy, Scott M. (2010). "Autonomous Orthodox Church of Japan". In McGuckin, John Anthony (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN   9781444392548.
  2. 国指定文化財等データベース (in Japanese). 文化庁. Retrieved 2017-05-05.

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Tokyo Resurrection Cathedral at Wikimedia Commons Holy Resurrection Cathedral (Nikorai-do) Web Site, in English or Japanese

Coordinates: 35°41′52.93″N139°45′55.92″E / 35.6980361°N 139.7655333°E / 35.6980361; 139.7655333