This church is the oldest in Poltava. In the middle of the seventeenth century
it was probably a part of the wooden Church of the Transfiguration of Christ,
which had burned down in 1705. Old church chronicles tell us that before
1709 a local priest, Ivan Svitaylo, had bought an old wooden church from the
Poltava Monastery of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross to replace the burnt church.
According to folklore, following the Battle of Poltava, a moleben (service
of supplication) was celebrated in the presence of Tsar Peter I while the
fortress defenders were being buried on the church grounds. In 1810-1811, when
the church had fallen into disrepair, the decision was made to partly demolish it.
Only one single-cupola side apse was left as a reminder of its significant
role in the history of the Russian Empire. In 1837, Tsar Oleksandr II visited Poltava.
From funds granted for the upkeep of monuments and those gathered
by subscription a brick exterior was constructed around the wooden
church in 1845, based on the design of Kharkiv architect Andrei Ton,
which creates the impression of a single domed church. In 1847,
a brick bell tower was constructed in front of the western entrance
of the church. From 1875 until 1898 it was used as a regimental church
for the 33rd Infantry Regiment, then deployed in Poltava.
In 1890, a brick-and-iron fence was placed around the church yard.
In 1902 the Most Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church
approved a thorough restoration of the church. The fate of
the Church of the Savior has been fortunate. Before the Revolution of
1917 there were about twenty churches in Poltava. Spaska Church is
one of the three local churches that survived the
terrible 1930s when so many religious buildings throughout
the country were completely destroyed on the orders of Jozef
Stalin. Only the bell tower was
blown up in 1934. After 1942 the church renewed its activity as a parish
of the Moscow patriarchy.