Cathedral of St. Theodore Ushakov

Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
Leaving the museum, walk another 500 metres (1550 ft) through the garden square towards Sovetskaya Ulitsa (formerly Bazarnaya Ulitsa) and you will find the Cathedral of St. Theodore Ushakov. Construction began in 2004 and ended in August 2006. The central cross of the Empire-style cathedral stands at 62 metres (192 ft) high. There are four bell towers and 12 bells, the largest of which weighs six tons.

Next to the cathedral is a monument to Fedor Ushakov – a Russian admiral who commanded the Black Sea Fleet in 1790–1792. The residents of Saransk consider him the town’s patron saint. The military commander spent only his last years in Mordovia, but his family history is closely intertwined with the history of the Mordva people. The admiral’s uncle, Ivan Ushakov, took monastic vows under the name Fedor in 1747. He oversaw the transformation of the Sanaksarsky Monastery, located 153 km (95 mi) away from Saransk (and considered to be in the neighbouring Tambov Province), into the region’s spiritual centre. Even today, the Sanaksarsky Monastery is a very important cultural and spiritual site for Mordovian residents.