The cathedral was named Cossack because Cossacks living in Saint Petersburg and belonging to the Saint Petersburg Cossack community "Nevskaya stanitsa" had meals and served in it
The Orthodox church in honor of the holiday of the Holy Cross Exaltation is one of the oldest churches in Saint Petersburg. Initially it was built in 1718 as a small church in the name of the holiday of the Nativity of John the Baptist. In 1731 the church burned down and a chapel was built on its place, which later became a church with the Nikolsky parish used by the Life Guards Kirasirsky regiment since 1743. Being built from old materials, the temple did not last long and by 1748 it was rebuilt into a new stone church in the name of the Holy Cross Exaltation and the Life-Giving Cross of the Lord. In this form the temple existed for about 100 years. It was decided to rebuild the temple again since it started to need repair during this time. In 1848-1851 the Church of the Holy Exaltation was reconstructed in the Baroque style according to the project of Yegor Ivanovich Dimmert, Stasov's student.
Not only residents of the Ligovsky district prayed in the renovated church, but also Cossacks who served in the capital's Life Guards Cossack and Ataman regiments and did not have their own church at that time (the barracks of these regiments were located along the Obvodny Chanel). The return of the Cossack guard from campaigns was always marked by service in the Church of the Holy Cross Exaltation or the Tikhvin Church.
The Church of the Exaltation was closed in 1938 and was supposed to be demolished. But later the Leningrad department of the «Soyuzkinoprokat» organization requested the Leningrad Union to grant them this building. The building was given to «Soyuzkinoprokat» for using it as a movie storage. The redevelopment, erection of new capital crosscut walls and ceilings disfigured the interior. According to available data, five priests had served served in the church were shot in 1937-1938.
The renaissance of the temple began when the entire complex was given back to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1991. The Church of the Exaltation officially became a cathedral in 2000.
A bust of Nicholas II was set at the altar wall of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Exaltation in 2002.
The restoration of the architectural complex of the cathedral funded by the city government started in 2008: the bell tower of the cathedral was restored, the domes were gilded and the restoration of the roof started in 2014.
Cossacks actively participate in restoration works: they quickly removed the concrete ceilings and partitions from the internal part, the cathedral is being prepared for services.
The complex of the Cossack Cathedral of the Holy Cross Exaltation consists of three churches:
- Cathedral of the Holy Cross Exaltation;
- Church of the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God;
- Cyril and Methodius Church (located in the bell tower).
Liturgies are held in the Church of the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God, but the church is open to prayers only during services, the rest of the time the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Exaltation is open.