Bogolyubovsky Cathedral was founded in 1847 by Kozlov citizens (today’s Michurinsk) as a thank you to the Most Holy Mother of God who saved the town many times from the outbreaks of plague and cholera in 18th-19th centuries. The cathedral was built according to the project of a famous architect, K.A. Thon, and is an architectural analog of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. One of the best places in town was used as the construction site for the cathedral – the Red Square, near which during the plague outbreak in the 18th century the miraculous Bogolyubovsky icon of the Mother of God “Kozlovskaya” had been found that became an important orthodox sacred object of Kozlov for many years.
Consecrated in 1873, the five-dome Bogolyubovsky cathedral has three altars: the main one – on honor of Bogolyubsky icon of the Mother of God, while the side chaples – in honor of the Meeting of the Lord and St. Sergius of Radonezh. The new stone five-dome church is very different from all the other Tambov churches by its impressive size (it can seat 5 000 people at a time), solemnity and rare beauty of Byzantine-Russian style. The dome of the central tholobate brings some buoyant note into this architectural masterpiece. The diameter of the dome reaches 16 m while the total height of the cathedral is 21 m. By its design, it’s an original, thought-out and harmonic construction.
Another Orthodox gem of Michurinsk is associated with the cathedral – Kozlov Bogolyubsky Convent. This abode was initially founded in 1638 as Ilyinsky convent but in 1764 it was abolished. But most sisters didn’t leave Kozlov and the religious life continued in town. After the town people filed their petition in 1858, the convent was reestablished and joined Bogolyubovsky cathedral being under construction at that time. The convent occupied the whole block and included a two-storey brick cell building with the domestic church with the icon of the Mother of God "Wear My Sorrows", a bellfry, a shelter and a school for orphans, as well as numerous outbuildings. The convent was being built with the main help of Kozlov merchant, F.G. Voronov’s funds. By 1917, Bogolyubsky convent had 116 people living in it including 91 nuns. The cenobites of the convent were the spiritual children of the elders in Holy Vvedensky Optina Hermitage.
In 1918, Kozlov Bogolyubsky convent was closed and the sisters got chased away. In the 1920s the monastery necropolis was destroyed. After the World War II, the convent was turned into the largest communal flat in town. Even today people live in the former cells of the nuns and in the former domestic church.
Bogolyubsky cathedral was closed in 1930. It was mostly used as storage facilities. Attempts were made to blow the cathedral. It didn’t happen because of the danger of destroying the neighboring residential buildings. After the war, the unique domes were removed from the church while the basement rooms were used as a town salt storage house. For decades rain had been destroying the brickwork of the cathedral while the salt did its job in eroding the plasterwork and all wall paintings. After many years, the cathedral was acknowledged as the monument of architecture of national importance and the reconstruction began. In 1991, the divine services resumed again. During the first year after the opening of cathedral, several icons secreted myrrh either one at a time or several simultaneously: the icon of the Kazan Mother of God, the icon of St. Mitrofan of Voronezh, the icon of Blessed Xenia of Petersburg and others.Today Michurinsk Bogolyubsky cathedral has become one of the most beautiful churches in Tambov land. There’s a bell-chapel erected next to the cathedral honoring the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia.