Kazan Cathedral or Kazanskiy Kafedralniy Sobor, also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan, is a Russian Orthodox Church on the Nevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg.
Our Lady of Kazan was a highly regarded, holy icon to the Russian Orthodox Church, representing the Virgin Mary as the protector and patroness of the city of Kazan, and by extension all of Russia. According to tradition, the icon was discovered in the city of Kazan by a little girl, Matrona, to whom the location was revealed by a Marian apparition.
On the night of June 29, 1904 the icon was stolen from Kazan where it had been kept for centuries, presumably for its gold frame ornamented with valuable jewels.
The Orthodox Church interpreted the disappearance of the icon as a sign of tragedies that would plague Russia after the image of the Holy Protectress of Russia had been lost. Indeed, the Russian peasantry was wont to credit all the evils of the revolution in 1905, as well as Russia's defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, to the desecration of the image.
The cathedral was built in 1801. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, it was closed, reopening in 1932 as the "Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism." Services were resumed in 1992; four years later the cathedral was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. It is now the mother cathedral of the metropolis of St. Petersburg.