1747-1751, architect F.B. Rastrelli
On July 12, 2011, the Court Church that opened in Peterhof Museum-Reserve after the restorations works, was consecrated in the name of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. Created by the will of the Empress Elizabeth and the project of Rastrelli, the creator of the Elizabethan baroque style, it is an outstanding example of the religious constructions of this architect. Originally consecrated on September 10, 1751, it occupied the eastern block of the Grand palace, crowned, at the request of Elizabeth Petrovna, with five gilded domes, "as per our faith". An unusually sumptuous and colorful interior decoration, is surprising for the traditional Russian church architecture. It demonstrates a blend of orthodox traditions, with the ideas of the Western culture and the baroque style. The streams of light pouring from the large windows, bright paintings, gilded carvings, the absence of the scene of the Last Judgment, soft and kindly images of the saints, embodying the idea of intercession for the people, create an especially festive and blissful atmosphere. The abundance of gold in the decoration of the Altar, Hall and Refectory, fill them with sacred meaning, as gold is the main symbol of the religious art, signifying the radiance of the divine glory.
The layout of the Church Hall is unusual - in the form of an octagon, as if a guiding star, shining in this world. The vaulting of the dome also has eight sides. As it should be in the Orthodox Church, the earliest and most revered creators: the evangelists, apostles and saints, are depicted on it. Among the features of the Church Hall of the court Peterhof temple, is the absence of the solium and the pulpit - elevations before the iconostasis and the altar. The emplacement of the forty icons on the six-tier iconostasis is traditional. Many saints are depicted on the icons in a state of emotional tension, expressed in their postures, gestures and body turning, distinctive of the baroque painting. The gilded carving around them, consisting of cherubim, rocaille, whimsical vegetable sprouts and garlands, though symbolizes a home of divinity, is not any different from the chasing in the halls of the Imperial palace. In addition, it also included the monogram of the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna.
The central part of the iconostasis is particularly impressive, aiming upwards, decorated with the spiral gilded columns and completed with the carved gilded Golgotha, with forth-standing figures. Of all seven sacraments, the sacraments of the Eucharist, wedding and christening were frequently held here. The Court Church, was a witness to family celebrations of the Romanov's Home. Here, there were not only weddings and baptism of newly borns, but also celebrations of the most important dates of state and religious holidays. The christening of four of the five children of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II, were the final pages in the history of the church. The baptism of his long-awaited heir, Tsesarevich Alexei, born in Peterhof, took place on August 11, 1904.
The small exhibition in the Refectory, is dedicated to the history of the daily life of the Palace Church.