Jelgava’s Orthodox Cathedral of St Simeon and St Anna



Jelgava’s Orthodox Cathedral of St Simeon and St Anna is one of five Orthodox cathedrals in Latvia. It was named in honour of Anna Ioannovna Kettler, the wife of Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Courland and Semigallia, who became Empress Anna I of Russia in 1730. As Jelgava already had a St Anna (Lutheran) Church, the Orthodox cathedral was consecrated in honour of St Simeon the God-receiver and St Anna the Prophetess. Initially, the Cathedral was fashioned out of wood, but it was later torn down to erect a stone building designed by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli and consecrated in 1780.

In the late 19th century, the Jelgava Orthodox parish grew rapidly, and the current cathedral proved too small to accommodate the flock. With the financial support of Tsar Alexander III of Russia, between 1890 and 1892, the cathedral was expanded according to designs made by Nikolai Chagin, partly preserving the foundations and altar of the previous building designed by Rastrelli and completed in 1780.
Jelgava’s cathedral is an example of Russian style, combined with eclectic forms and features of Art Noveau. The large helmet-shaped dome caps the central cylindrical building, which, in turn, sits on the walls of the old church that have been transformed into arches. Four corners of the building feature stepped squinches. Two pairs of small domes crown the side extensions, expanding the church. A bell tower on the west side is topped by a tent-shaped dome; two onion domes tower the vestibule. Although the cathedral appears smaller from the outside and seems to blend in with the urban environment, the spacious interior opens up to its visitors.

WWII damaged the cathedral heavily, and it was used as a warehouse after the war. Before Latvia’s independence was restored, there were many plans to destroy or rebuild it, but somehow, they always fell through.

After the restoration of independence, the cathedral was returned to the Orthodox congregation and work on its renovation began (1993-2003). Its bell tower has nine bells, the largest weighing 830 kg. Currently, the cathedral holds regular services and hosts a library with spiritual literature.

Read more Close Fill 1 Copy

Improvements made within the project

The project restored the cathedral’s magnificent interior paintings according to a sketch design by Jakovs Kļosovs based on photographic images from 1983 and samples from similar murals in other Orthodox churches.

The project was implemented by Jelgava St Simeon and St Anna’s Orthodox congregation.

Investments – EUR 64,705.88

Of which:

ERDF funding – EUR 55,000

church congregation funding – EUR 9,705.88



Raiņa Street 5, Jelgava


Working time

Monday – Sunday 9:00 – 17:00


Admission fee

Free of charge or by donation


Getting there

To get to Jelgava, take public transport (bus, train) or use private transport.



+371 63020207