Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir
Assumption Cathedral of Vladimir is included in the list of eight historic-architectural monuments of the Old Russian white-stone architecture of Vladimir-Suzdal Rus, enlisted in 1992 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Before the rise of Moscow its walls were used for the ceremonies of crowning for the great reigning. The temple was initially provided with huge land allotments and tithes from all the princely incomes. It played a key role in the formation of Vladimir as a political and independent orthodox center.
- The foundation of the Cathedral of the Holy Dormition – 1158.
- The patronal feast day is the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August, 28).
- The church is considered to be the cultural heritage object of the state importance.
- State – church with a museum exposition.
The architectural image of the church was used as the model for a number of churches built in different historic periods. Here are preserved fragments of unique frescos of XII century as well as paintings of famous icon painters Andrew Rublev and Daniil Cherny.
Description of the Cathedral of the Assumption in Vladimir
The white-stone building was erected in 1158-60 by order of Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky, who became governor of the entire Suzdal land in 1157, after the death of his father Yuri Dolgoruky. Originally the cathedral was three-apsed and six-column, had three annexes, three altars and five domes. It surpassed the Sophia cathedrals built earlier in Kiev and Novgorod in the height (32,3 meters) and was unequalled by the pompousness of its internal decoration. The frescoes appeared in 1161.
The most rich church utensils and vestments, decorated with gold, silver and jewels were added by the gilt sculptures and doors, stained-glass windows and virtuoso stone carving, fresco carpets, copper and ceramic plates floor. The facades were decorated by stucco ornaments and figured pilasters with capitals of the Corinthian order; the zakomars had the relief compositions. Little has remained of the cathedral’s initial appearance after the large-scale fires which occurred in Vladimir in 1183 and 1185.
The reconstruction of the Dormition cathedral damaged by a fire completely changed the cult construction. The rebuilding was done by the prince Vsevolod the Big Nest who involved local architects in the work.
The new temple around the old building was being erected in the period from 1186 to 1189. The cathedral was greatly expanded by the addition of side galleries. Instead of a three-nave church, it became a five-nave one. The remaining fragments of frescos were not destroyed, some of them survived to this day. The internal space was united by means of additionally punched arched apertures.
For comparison the sizes in plan of the first and the newly erected Assumption cathedral (without taking into account the apses):
- width – 17.5 and 30.8 meters;
- length – 22,5 and 30 meters.
The chronology of further major events is as follows:
- 1238, 1410, 1536. – Fires and looting;
- 1299 – removal of the metropolitan’s residence;
- 1408 – painting of the walls and vaults by Rublev and Chyorny;
- Beginning of the 17th century – desolation;
- 1774 – new iconostasis;
- 1810 г. – 1810 – erection of a bell tower (more than 70 meters high);
- 1862 – construction of St. George’s chapel;
- 1927-44. – a ban on divine services.
Throughout its history the Cathedral of Vladimir has been restored several times. It has survived greatness, destruction and rebirth. Nowadays the complex is under the joint jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Vladimir and Suzdal Museum Reserve.
The cult building is made in the style of Russian Romanesque, which has characteristic differences – white stone walls of smoothly hewn stone, perspective portals, ornamental decorations. The direction was created in the pre-Mongolian period under the influence of Western European architects invited to work.
The first Cathedral of the Assumption of Vladimir was built by Lombard masters, sent to Andrei Bogolyubsky by the Holy Roman Emperor and at the same time the German King Frederick I, who received for his bright red beard the nickname of Barbarossa.
Today it is impossible to see the original image of the temple. What was left after the fire in 1185 was surrounded by walls of a later construction.
Externally the Cathedral of the Assumption of Vladimir looks massive and solid. Vertically its facades are divided by pilasters, finished with smooth zakomary. On the horizontal the plane is visually divided into two levels by the decorative columnar belt. The elongated openings create the effect of aspiration upwards.
During several restorations of the XVIII-XIX centuries, the cathedral complex was enlarged:
- a four-tiered bell tower with a gilded spire
- a four-tiered bell tower with a gilded spire; and a four-gable roof;
- a side-chapel in the name of St. George the Victorious;
- helmet-shaped cupolas (previously they were onion-shaped).
The central skylight with twelve slit-shaped openings has larger dimensions than the four similar corner structures. During the reconstruction of 1186-89, the outermost lanterns were moved from their former places in the direction of the newly built walls.
Interior and Interior Decoration
Much of what is now in the Cathedral of the Assumption in Vladimir appeared after its rebuilding in 1189, and during later reconstructions. But there are still fragments of the ancient frescoes of the XII century and the later works of the famous icon painters, executed in the beginning of the XV century.
In the ancient part of the temple and on the iconostasis pillars, one can see figures made at the end of the XII century. In the second half of the XVIII century, on the direct order of Empress Catherine the Great, the interiors of the dilapidated cathedral and its interior decoration were substantially renovated. It was at that time that the Rublev iconostasis was replaced with a carved one. Ancient icons, hand-written by the master, have been preserved. Some of them are in the Tretyakov Gallery.
In the 19th century, new murals appeared on top of the frescoes that had disappeared over time. In the 1970-80s there was the most extensive and lengthy restoration.
In the Cathedral of the Assumption of Vladimir are stored relics of holy great princes:
- Andrei Bogolyubsky (c. 1111-1174) – who founded the cathedral and raised the Vladimir-Suzdal principality to the height of the most powerful and powerful in Russia;
- Gleb of Murom (c. 987-1015) – Martyr and martyr-bearer is considered to be one of the first Russian saints and patrons of the Russian land;
- George (Yury Vsevolodovich) (1188-1238) – canonized by the Orthodox Church four centuries after his death;
- Alexander Nevsky (a part of the relics) (1221-1263) – is the patron of the Orthodox Church and the ancestor of the Moscow sovereigns.
In the temple there are icons:
- The Virgin Mary of Vladimir, one of the most revered in Russian Orthodoxy. It was given as a gift to Yuri Dolgoruky by the patriarch of Constantinople in 1131. A copy by Andrei Rublev is kept in the cathedral. The original was transferred from the Tretyakov Gallery to the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in Tolmachi in 1999;
- The icon of Our Lady of Maximov written in 1299 after the apparition of the icon of the Mother of God to Metropolitan Maximus of Vladimir. The Sign was perceived as a heavenly blessing for the transfer of the cathedra to Vladimir;
- St. Abraham of Bulgaria (with a piece of relics), especially revered by the Vladimir diocese as a martyr and miracle worker.
In the niches-arcosoliums in the cathedral’s gallery walls rest the remains of bishops, representatives of princely-Vladimir families. The northern gallery contains burials of two princes – the founder of the cathedral Andrei Bogolyubsky and the initiator of its restoration Vsevolod III (The Big Nest).
Frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral
The interior of the church has preserved some fragments of frescoes created back in the XII century. Besides, joint works of the mature master of Russian icon painting and monumental painting Venerable Andrei Rublev and his contemporary, monk Daniil Cherny, already revered by the Orthodox Church in the person of the Saint Venerable, are present here. These lists have scientifically confirmed date of creation – 1408.
The most significant of Rublev’s frescoes, depicting a scene of the Last Judgment, is executed in a light, solemn and affirming manner, exalting spiritual values and justice. This approach was fundamentally different from the traditionally accepted formidable perception of the Day of Judgment. Originally the composition occupied the whole western part of the cathedral.
The total area of the survived in the Cathedral of the Holy Dormition in Vladimir ancient frescos is about 300 square meters.
Vladimir’s Cathedral works every day from 07:00 to 20:00. Excursion time is from 13:00 to 16:45, except for Mondays. Chapel is open daily from 10:00 to 18:00.
From Monday to Saturday at 07:30 (on Tuesdays at 7:00) there is a Divine Liturgy and at 17:00 there is an evening service. On Sundays, the morning schedule changes. The early Liturgy begins at 06:30 and the late Liturgy at 08:30. In addition, during the Sunday evening service, an akathist to the icon of Our Lady of Vladimir is read. On Fridays, after Vespers, there are talks with the parishioners.
Chapel in honor of the icon of the Mother of God, located under the bell tower, prayers with the reading of the Akathist are performed daily, except Sundays, at 11:00 am. On Sundays it is possible to attend services at 12:00.
Things to see nearby
The territory of the cathedral complex is surrounded from all sides by a white stone fence.
- Pushkin park; Dmitrievsky park;
- Dmitrievsky park;
- Sobornaya Square with a monument to the 850th anniversary of Vladimir;
- Monument to Andrei Rublev;
- Monument to Prince Vladimir and Saint Theodore.
How to get to the Cathedral of the Assumption in Vladimir
To the stop “Sobor Square. Sobornaya” follows:
- bus routes – № 12C, 15, 22, 25, 26, 28, 152;
- Trolleybus routes – No. 1, 5.
Bus lines 7C, 13C, 54, 55C, 56, 108, 110, 123 and 139 will take you to the stops “Yerofeevsky Descent” and “Muromskaya St.”.
The bus stop “Gagarin Street” is 200 meters from Sobornaya Square. Here you can get off:
- from buses – № 1C, 6C, 16C, 17, 27;
- From trolleybuses – № 5;
- From trolleybuses – № 2, 7, 8.
The site indicates where the nearest bus and trolleybus stops are. You can see a directory of public transport routes in Vladimir here.
It takes 15 minutes to walk from the train station “Vladimir Passenger” and the city bus station to the Holy Dormition Cathedral or 7 minutes by trolleybus №5 to the stop “Sobornaya Square”.
Mobile cab services Rutaxi, Maxim, Yandex.Taxi, Gett, etc. operate in Vladimir.
Assumption Cathedral (Vladimir)
The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, cathedral of the Vladimir diocese. A unique architectural historical and artistic monument of Ancient Russia, the main cathedral of North-Eastern Russia, one of the greatest creations of the Russian architecture of the XII century, which became a model for the construction of Russian temples.
History [ edit ]
The cathedral is placed on the extreme and high part of the hill, completing the ancient center of Vladimir. It is an important element of the spatial and compositional structure of the city and its panorama from across the river Klyazma, defines the urban landscape.
First church In 990 in Vladimir on the Klyazma was built of oak wood the first Orthodox church in honor of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After the icon of the Mother of God, for this reason named Vladimirskaya, became miraculously immovable near Vladimir, the blessed Grand Duke Andrew Bogolyubsky ordered a new white-stone cathedral to be laid there for the shrine. According to the Laurentian Chronicle, in 1158, “…Andrei the prince laid in Volodimer the church of the holy Mother of God of stone, in the month of April the 8th day. “. In 1160 the cathedral was already reconstructed: “That same summer Saint Blessed Virgin Mary was founded by Prince Andrew and its top was gilded, by his faith and his longing for the holy Mother of God God God brought him all the masters from the lands and decorated it more than any other churches” in the summer of 1161.
The painting of the new church, called “Golden-Domed”, was finished on 30 August and in 1161 the consecration followed. Prince Andrew designed the single-domed cathedral as the main temple of the diocese. In 1158 at the Cathedral of the Assumption was the Vladimir chronicle, in 1160 Prince Andrew gave the temple large estates and a tenth of the princely incomes making the cathedral “tithe”. The Vladimir icon of the Mother of God became its main sanctuary.
In 1176 the cathedral was cruelly plundered by the Rostislavichi. The temple was badly damaged again in 1185 by a big city fire. In 1185-1189 under the Vladimir Grand Duke Vsevolod Yuryevich the cathedral was surrounded by tall galleries with four small gilded heads on the corners. To connect the galleries with the premises of the old temple, the walls of the latter were broken through with large and small arched apertures, the altar part was built anew. On August 11, 1189 the cathedral was solemnly consecrated by Luka, bishop of Rostov. In 1193 the cathedral was again damaged in a city fire. With the lapse of time Vsevolod’s building became a princely tomb – “tomb”. Around the cathedral in the pre-Mongolian epoch rose a bishop’s palace and other constructions, described in chronicles. During the earthquake in Vladimir in 1230, the Assumption Cathedral was not damaged. In 1237 the galleries were painted.
In February 7, 1238 the cathedral was taken and plundered by Tatars for the first time, at which a great number of Vladimir’s citizens, led by martyr bishop Mitrophan who took refuge in the cathedral, perished. The following year from Rostov to the cathedral the body of Grand Prince Vladimir’s noble Georgy Vsevolodovich was transferred. Later on in the same 13th century the Tatars subjected the cathedral to the second plundering.
During this period in the cathedral the enthronement of the great prince of Vladimir took place – in 1252 the great prince Alexander Nevsky was enthroned here. In 1280 the cathedral was repaired. In 1299 metropolitan of Kiev St. Maxim transferred to the Vladimirsk cathedral his residence, having received approval in a vision from the Most Holy Virgin. At the turn of the XIII-XIV centuries in the southwest corner of the Vsevolod galleries a brick chapel was built in honor of Panteleimon the Healer, and the cathedral was covered with tin. Metropolitan of All Russia, St. Peter, moved from Vladimir to Moscow in 1325. Accordingly in 1395 the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God was transferred there, and in 1428 the elevation to the throne of great prince began in Moscow, and in the 1470s the Cathedral of the Assumption was erected in Moscow on the model of the Vladimir cathedral. Except for 1352-1354 the cathedral loses a role of a cathedral temple down to XVIII century.
In 1340 in the Vladimirskiy cathedral the roof was repaired. In 1408 “by command of the Grand Prince Vasily Dmitrievich the cathedral was painted and the masters Danilo Ikonnik and Ondrey Rublev”. In 1411, the Tatar Tsarevich Talych occupied the city and set fire to it, and the cathedral lost its bells which were melted in the fire. The treasures and relics of the cathedral were hidden by the archpriest Patrickiy who was tortured by the Tatars for it. In 1518-1520 icons of the Vladimir Dormition cathedral have been sent to Moscow for display to the Greek delegation and restoration, then have been returned on former places. In 1536 the cathedral burned again.
At the beginning of XVII century the cathedral was in a state of desolation: “the birds inside it were hanging their nests in great numbers”. The roof of the cathedral at that time was plucked. Presumably in the same century a hipped-roof bell tower was erected near the cathedral. In 1645 imperishable relics of prince George were uncovered.
By the beginning of XVIII century the cathedral reached extreme dilapidation, had numerous cracks in the walls and arches. Thanks to the all-church glorification of saint princes Andrew Bogolyubsky and Gleb of Vladimir in 1702, the government paid attention to the cathedral and allocated funds to its renewal. In 1708, the centurion Georgy Andreyevich Plemyannikov used his own money to renovate the church. However, the repair of 1708 greatly distorted the temple, not strengthening the building.
Corner brick buttresses were added to the white-stone structure, windows were enlarged and added, the heads were converted from helmet-shaped to onion-shaped. The new overhaul took place in 1725-1734 under the guidance of Yakov Buyev, a serf from the Novaya Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda. Unable to restore the ancient covering, masters covered the temple with a four-slope iron roof with a large slope.
In 1744, in connection with the renewal of the Vladimir diocese, the cathedral became a cathedral again. In 1767, when Empress Catherine the Great visited Vladimir, the cathedral appeared in a deplorable state, because the iron roof rusted and water flooded the cathedral, polluting and destroying paintings and decorations. The Empress allocated 14 thousand rubles for restoration of the cathedral after which the restoration works were done by eight artels. In 1768, side-chapels were arranged and consecrated in the northern part in the name of the Blessed Grand Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky and in the southern part – in the name of the Blessed Prince Gleb of Vladimir. A team of roofers headed by the Moscow smith Alexei Sergeyev disassembled the dilapidated roof of the cathedral and covered it with sheet iron, equipping it with new drainpipes. A team of local painters painted the roofs green. Servants of the bishop’s house repaired and whitewashed the walls and vaults, chained 6 grates and inserted them into the windows.
Four artels were working in the altar. New iconostasis was built for 2000 rubles by Ostashkov carvers Stepan and Kalistrat Bochkarev, and gilded and painted by public master Semen Zolotov. At the same time the dilapidated Rublev iconostasis was dismantled and sold in the village of Vasilievskoye in Shuisky district, Rublev’s frescoes were scratched with lime when whitewashing. И
The icons of the new three-tier iconostasis were painted by the Vladimir icon painter Strokin and his assistants. On May 25, 1774 the renewed Assumption Cathedral was consecrated by Bishop Jerome of Vladimir. In 1776 was arranged a stone cathedral chapel.
In 1810 on the place of the old tent bell-tower damaged by a lightning and dismantled in 1806, the architect Vershinsky built a new high bell-tower. In 1812, during the Patriotic War, from Moscow to the cathedral were brought for storage miracle-working Vladimir and Iveron icons. In 1859, the archaeologist Solntsev made the first attempts to discover the ancient frescoes. In 1860 according to the design of the provincial architect N.A. Artleben a warm St. George’s chapel was built connecting the northern facade of the cathedral with the bell tower, and in 1862 in the bell tower a chapel was arranged in honor of the miracle of the Archangel Michael in Khoneh.
In 1871, the gatehouse and baptistery were built, and Archbishop Anthony of Vladimir put forward a radical restructuring project which would have completely transformed the cathedral. By the efforts of the Moscow Archaeological Society, the project was rejected. Works of that decade were limited to the construction of a fence with iron bars and installation of heaters for heating the cathedral. Only in 1880, under the direction of the Vladimir archbishop Feognost (Lebedev), the restoration of the cathedral by local forces began. In 1882 under the guidance of a special restoration commission headed by I.E. Zabelin the works to uncover the frescoes and the renovation of the paintings began, in which N.M. Sofonov played a major role. Since 1880-ies the architecture and the frescoes of the cathedral begin to attract worldwide attention. By the beginning of 1890s a major restoration was carried out, the ancient coating of the temple and its chapters were restored, the walls and vaults were reinforced by engineers, the ancient fresco paintings were exposed. The facades were largely clad with new stone, some of the dilapidated carved stones were replaced, and a new annex was added to the west. On September, 29th 1891, Archbishop Feognost performed the consecration of the renewed cathedral.
Current state [ edit ]
After 1917, the cathedral was closed, and a museum exhibit of scientific atheism was located there. In 1944, at the request of the Orthodox community of the Assumption Cathedral for its reopening for divine services, the church was reopened and never closed again.
Today the cathedral with its adjoining buildings are monuments of world heritage according to the list of UNESCO and the federal monuments of Russia. All buildings are used for their intended purpose, except for the baptistery, which is a utility room. Since 2009, access for tourists is limited to specified groups, evening services in the cathedral are held only before holidays. The technical condition of the building and frescoes is satisfactory, the temperature regime is monitored by a climatologist and electronic thermohydrometers.
Description [ edit ]
The cross-domed five-nave tri-chapel cathedral of hewn white stone combines two building periods. The original three-nave three-cupola six-cupola nucleus of the cathedral was built in 1158-1160, but in 1185-1189 it was surrounded by two-tier galleries which were opened inside and formed two additional naves. The layout structure now represents a square, formed by the galleries of the Vsevolod’s buildings, which have taken in the ancient rectangular core, with the square of the old temple and the new building roughly equal to each other. The volumetric spatial solution of the cathedral is a high two side chapel with galleries in the western part which is covered with the cupola and finished with five cylindrical light drums with helmet-shaped domes. The height of the main central head is 32.3 m. The semicircular apses are almost the same height as the tchetverik. The inner space of the tchetverik is filled with sixteen columns with the arch arches thrown over them by the system of the multitudinous box vaults.
The division of the facades by semi-columns into rows, each of them has the semicolumn end, corresponds to the internal five-nave structure. The slit windows and portals have profiled openings. The light arcature-columnar frieze divides the facades into two tiers at the choir level and rises on the apses into the cornice zone. Moderate decorations of the facade include white-stone reliefs, decoration of the drums with more saturated dentils and the ridge.
The cathedral preserves various wall paintings of XII-XVII centuries among which there are unique frescos of Venerable Andrey Rublev.
The crosses on the heads are metallic, hammered openwork.
The roof of the cathedral is laid out of sheets of copper. The floors are metal, of cast-iron plates with the pattern, repeating the ornament of metal floors of the nineteenth century. Double wooden doors with two-leaf doors with carved decorations and glazed transoms. In the northwest corner of the cathedral there is a spiral metal staircase leading to the choir and to the northwest drum with access to the roof. The iconostasis is carved, gilded, executed in the second half of the XVIII century, in the “Elizabethan baroque” style. Above the royal and patriarchal seats there are carved gilt annexes, executed in the same style. Inside the cathedral, in the heights of the girt arches of the columns there are high relief images of lions carved of white stone.
The foundation of the cathedral is laid of several rows of cobblestone and white stone (in the upper rows) on mortar. Stylistically the bell tower is a loose connection of classical elements (paired columns of the first tier, composite ones of the third) with pseudo-gothic details (lancet arches). The height together with the spire is more than 70 m.
Clergy [ edit ]
During the history of the cathedral sometimes the lords of Vladimir were its rectors, and the direct management of the cathedral was entrusted to priests. At other times special priests were appointed rectors.
Archpriest Patricius (? – July 3, 1411).
– Alexei Gromov (acc. June 19, 1957 – 1960), Fr.
– Alexey (Kutepov) (May 1980 – March 1984)
– Kirill (Nakonechny) (March 19, 1984 – June 10, 1987)
– Archpriest Vasily Voynakov (as of c. 2010), Archpriest Alexis (Kutepov) (May 1980 – March 1984), Kirill (Nakonepov) (March 19, 1984 – June 10, 1987).
Relics [ edit ]
– Images of the Mother of God of Vladimir, Bogolyubsky and Maximovsky
– Relics of Grand Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky (in a shrine) and many other saints (in the necropolis, see below) Necropolis
The oldest Russian necropolis inside the cathedral contains more than 40 burials of the Vladimir grand-ducal family and Vladimir bishops. For the princely white stone sarcophagi were arranged niches – arcosoles in the walls of Vsevolod’s galleries. Those by whose command the cathedral was built are buried in a particularly honorable place, near the altar, at the eastern end of the northern gallery, others – in niches and under the floor. Among those buried in or near the cathedral:
Vladimir’s Cathedral of the Assumption