St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery

Kyiv, Ukraine

St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery is located on the edge of the bank of the Dnieper River, northeast of the Saint Sophia Cathedral.

Originally built in the Middle Ages by the Kievan Rus' ruler Sviatopolk II Iziaslavych, the monastery comprises the Cathedral church, the Refectory of St. John the Divine, built in 1713, the Economic Gates, constructed in 1760 and the monastery's bell tower, which was added c. 1716 – c. 1719. The exterior of the structure was rebuilt in the Ukrainian Baroque style in the 18th century while the interior remained in its original Byzantine style. The original cathedral was demolished by the Soviet authorities in the 1930s, but was reconstructed and opened in 1999 following Ukrainian independence in 1991.

Architecture

The religious architecture of St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery incorporates elements that have evolved from styles prevalent during Byzantine and Baroque periods. The St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral is the monastery's main church, built in 1108–1113 at the behest of Sviatopolk II Iziaslavych. The cathedral was the largest of three churches of St. Demetrius Monastery.

The ancient cathedral was modeled on the Assumption Cathedral (Kyiv) of the Monastery of the Caves. It used the Greek cross plan prevalent during the time of the Kyivan Rus, six pillars, and three apses. A miniature church, likely a baptistery, adjoined the cathedral from the south. There was also a tower with a staircase leading to the choir loft; it was incorporated into the northern part of the narthex rather than protruding from the main block as was common at the time. It is likely that the cathedral had a single dome, although two smaller domes might have topped the tower and baptistery. The interior decoration was lavish as its high-quality shimmering mosaics, probably the finest in Kyivan Rus, still testify.

When the medieval churches of Kyiv were rebuilt in the late 17th and early 18th centuries in the Ukrainian Baroque style, the cathedral was enlarged and renovated dramatically. By 1746, it had acquired a new baroque exterior, while maintaining its original Byzantine interior. Six domes were added to the original single dome, but the added pressure on the walls was counteracted by the construction of buttresses. The remaining medieval walls, characterised by alternative layers of limestone and flat brick, were covered with stucco. Ivan Hryhorovych-Barskyi was responsible for window surrounds and stucco ornamentation. Inside the church, an intricate five-tier icon screen funded by Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky and executed by Hryhoryi Petriv from Chernigov was installed in 1718. During the 18th and 19th centuries, almost all of the original Byzantine mosaics and frescoes on the interior walls were painted over. Some restoration work on the mosaics and frescoes that remained unpainted was carried out towards the end of the 19th century. However, there were no major and serious investigations of the walls done, so it is possible that medieval frescoes or mosaics were preserved under the newer coats of plaster.

Refectory

In August 1963, the preserved refectory of the demolished monastery without its Baroque cupola was designated a monument of architecture of the Ukrainian SSR. In 1973–1982 restoration of the Refectory Church of St. John the Theologian (the only building that survived the demolition of the 1930s) was held.

The refectory of St. John the Divine is a rectangular brick building which contains a dining hall for the brethren as well as several kitchens and pantries. The Church of John the Theologian adjoins it from the east. The outside is segmented by pilasters and displays window surrounds reminiscent of traditional Eastern Orthodox church architecture. The refectory was erected in 1713, taking the place of the original wooden refectory. Its interior was overhauled in 1827 and 1837 and the restoration work was undertaken from 1976 to 1981.

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Details

Founded: 1713
Category: Religious sites in Ukraine

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ca2003o Zahra Hassanzadeh (2 years ago)
This church is really one of the best churches in Ukraine and it is very beautiful. It has a very good sense of relief.??⛪️✨
Marianna Bobrova (3 years ago)
Amazing piece of Ukrainian culture. Wish it would have more care for facades as they are great, however need a lot of work.
JENNIS MARTIN (3 years ago)
The blue walls and golden domes of the exterior are very picturesque. The interior is quite impressive as well, and it is interesting to compare the fresh paintings here with the much older paintings in the nearby St Sophia’s.
daryl jowett (5 years ago)
Really lovely place to visit. It is free to walk around, however if you want a guided tour or to find out more info there are additional charges to pay for these things. There are plenty of spaces and benches to sit and relax and reflect in these beautiful surroundings. There is a note that states no photography, however everyone there were taking pictures and nobody was approached to stop.
Steve Bintley (6 years ago)
It’s really worth visiting here when you’re in the city. On a sunny day the golden roof really is glistening in the sun and the blue walls stand out prominently against the greyness of the surrounding area. Outside the surrounding wall there’s a nice square where you can sit and watch the world go by, including on my visit a photo shoot for a wedding, with loads of impressive and other ornate buildings. There was a number of locals selling stuff outside the entrance in the wall but fortunately they weren’t bothersome at all so don’t let it put you off. Once within the walls there’s a real sense of calm. There’s plenty of benches to sit and a nice walk around the grounds. There’s some other old buildings next to the main cathedral and a small ‘orchard’ which is pleasant in the sun. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to venture inside the main cathedral but despite that it was well worth checking out and it’s no wonder that it’s one of the cities main sights.
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