Russians first started coming to Geneva in the 19th century
after writer Nikolai Karamsin visited
and described the place in one of his travelogues.
In 1859, the tolerant authorities of Geneva
authorized the growing Russian Orthodox population to build a church.
The Grand Duchess Anna Fyodorovna,
sister-in-law of Tsar Alexander I and aunt of Queen Victoria,
was a long-time resident of Geneva.
She favoured the construction of a Russian Orthodox church in 1863.
Built over the remains of a 16th-century Benedictine priory,
it was designed by Grimm, a professor at the St-Petersburg Academy,
and completed in 1866.