St Volodymyr’s Cathedral, Kiev Ukraine
Digital paint in Corel Painter based on image taken by my cousin Mark Nayvelt from his last trip to Kiev,
In 1852, Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow suggested a large cathedral should be built in Kiev to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the baptism of Kievan Rus’ by prince Vladimir (Volodymyr) the Great of Kiev (St. Vladimir). People from all over the Russian Empire started donating to this cause, so that by 1859 the cathedral fund had amassed a huge sum of 100,000 rubles. The Kiev Pechersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves) produced one million bricks and presented them to the cathedral as well. The design was executed in neo-Byzantine style initially by the architects I. Schtrom, P. Sparro, R. Bemhardt, K. Mayevsky, V. Nikolayev. The final version of the design belongs to Alexander Vikentievich Beretti. It is a traditional six-piered, three-apsed temple crowned by seven cupolas. The height to the cross of the main dome is 49 m (161 ft).
Vintage view of the cathedral (ca. 1885).
It is the cathedral’s colourful interior that particularly strikes the eye.[who?] Mosaics were executed by masters from Venice. Frescoes were created under the guidance of Professor A. Prakhov by a group of famous painters: S. Kostenko, V. Kotarbinsky, Mikhail Nesterov, M. Pymonenko, P. Swedomsky, Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Vrubel, V. Zamyraylo, and others. The painting of the Holy Mother of God by Vasnetsov in the altar apse of the cathedral impresses by its austere beauty.
The entrance door is adorned with relief bronze sculptures of St. Olga (Princess Olga of Kiev) by sculptor R. Bakh and St. Vladimir (sculptor H. Zaieman) against a blue background. The iconostasis is carved from the white marble brought from Carrara. The cathedral was completed in 1882, however, the paintings were fully completed only in 1896.1
The cathedral risked damage during the Polish-Soviet War in 1920.2 During the Soviet period, the cathedral narrowly escaped demolition, but not closure. Until the Second World War it served as a museum of religion and atheism. The relics of St Barbara, a martyr of the 3rd century AD, were transferred to St Volodymyr’s from the St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery before it was destroyed by the Bolsheviks 3, and have remained there since. After the war the cathedral was reopened and since remained continually open. It was then the main church of the Kiev Metropolitan See of the Ukrainian Exarchate. The cathedral was one of the few places in the USSR where tourists could openely visit a working Orthodox Church. It saw the revival of Orthodox religion in 1988 when the millennium celebration of the Baptism of Kiev marked a change in Soviet policy on religion.
St Volodymyr’s Cathedral roof.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, St Volodymyr’s Cathedral ownership became an issue of controversy between two denominations that both claim to represent Ukrainian Orthodox Christianity – the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, a church with an autonomous status under the Moscow Patriarchy, and the newly established Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchy, which, ultimately, won the control over the cathderal.
Spiritual leaders of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kiev Patriarchy continue to conduct religious services and prayers in St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral. All the ceremonies are conducted in Ukrainian, accompanied during religious holidays by the Cathedral choir, which is often joined by opera singers.
Feb 8, 2013
1x Greeting Card of St Volodymyr’s Cathedral