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St. Volodymyr's Cathedral in Kiev
St. Volodymyr's Cathedral
St Volodymyr's Cathedral (Ukrainian:also known as the Volodymyrsky Cathedral, Vladimirsky Cathedral, or St. Vladimir's Cathedral) is a cathedral in the centre of Kiev. It is one of the city's major landmarks and the mother cathedral of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kiev Patriarchy, one of two major Ukrainian Orthodox Churches.
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 delightful Byzantine style initially by the architects I. Schtrom, P. Sparro, R. Bemhardt, K. Mayevsky, V. Nikolayev. The final version of the design belongs to A. 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 meters.
It is the cathedral's colourful interior that particularly strikes the eye. 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, M. Nesterov, M. Pymonenko, P. Swedomsky, V. Vasnetsov, M. 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, being one of the world masterpieces of fine art.
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 finished only in 1896.