Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev, detailed information

KIEV SOPHIA CATHEDRAL

St. Sophia Cathedral originally was a grandiose 13-domed building (in the XVII century were added another 6 chapters). This cross-domed church has five naves and is surrounded on the south, west and north by a double row of galleries. There are galleries for the grand-ducal family in the west which can be accessed through two stair towers adjoining the western facade. A lot of graffiti has survived on the walls of Sophia of Kiev. The most ancient dated graffiti date back to 1052 by which time the church was finished with decoration: it was richly decorated with mosaics and frescoes created by Greek masters and their Russian pupils. Despite considerable losses, some of this decoration has been preserved until today. Among the sacred images of St. Sophia of Kyiv the most famous are the mosaic icon of the Mother of God “Unbreakable Wall” which decorates the altar apse as well as the icon of the Annunciation located on the pillars of the eastern arch. By its size (55h37 m) and richness of decoration Sophia Cathedral had no equals not only in Kievan Rus, but also in all Europe at that time. Both the scope, with which the main temple of recently baptized Russia was built, and its dedication not so much imitated Sophia of Constantinople, as competed with it. The Sofia cathedral built by Yaroslav the Wise became a burial place of the great prince himself and many of his descendants. The marble sarcophagus with Yaroslav’s remains up to this day stands under the vaults of Sophia of Kiev. Many Primates of the Russian Church at the time of Kievan Rus were also buried in the cathedral metropolitan church.

Batyi’s invasion and decline of the cathedral

The temple was seriously damaged for the first time in 1240 during the sacking of Kiev by the hordes of Batyi. The Mongol-Tatars inflicted a serious damage to St Sophia of Kiev. Not only the Cathedral was deprived of its precious utensils but also was partially destroyed. The galleries and the western part of the temple were especially damaged. Nevertheless after the Batye’s pogrom the Sofia cathedral continued to be a cathedral temple of Russian metropolitans. Despite the devastation services continued to be held there. But gradually it became more and more desolate, like the rest of Kiev. Metropolitan Kirill III, who headed the Russian Church after the Batye invasion, didn’t live much in his cathedral city – almost his entire life was spent traveling between dioceses, where he was restoring church life after the Mongol-Tatar invasion. Nevertheless the great hierarch who died in Pereslavl-Zalesskiy, nevertheless was buried in Sofia of Kiev. In about 1299 Cyril’s successor, holy metropolitan Maximos, definitively left the devastated and decayed Kiev, and transferred his residence to Vladimir-on-Klyazma, under the protection of the princes of Northeastern Rus. But both Maximos himself and his successors retained the title of metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus’, and the Sophia cathedral retained its status as the cathedral metropolitan cathedral. And yet the Primate of the Russian Church rarely visits it, and the ancient cathedral continues to deteriorate. Frequent and devastating raids by Tatars and Lithuanians further accelerated its destruction.

In the 14th century most of the Western Russian lands became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Lithuanian sovereigns – Gedimin and his descendants – sought to divide the formerly united Russian Church and create a separate Lithuanian-Russian metropolitanate, so that their Orthodox subjects (who then constituted over 90% of the entire population of the principality of Lithuania) would not depend on the metropolitans of Kiev and All Russia, who had moved to Moscow since St. Peter and St. Theognost. Sometimes the Lithuanian princes succeeded in having a separate metropolitan for Lithuania, who in that case could reside in Kiev, at St. Sophia Cathedral. Thus, during the reign of Olgerd, in violation of the canons, the metropolitanate of Litovsky Rus’ was headed by Theodorit, who attempted to establish himself in Kyiv, but was not very successful. For some time, St. Sophia of Kiev served as metropolis for other protégés of Olgerd – Roman and Cyprian. However these short episodes didn`t lead to the rebirth of the Sophia cathedral. When in the first quarter of the 15th century the Lithuanian Grand Duke Vitovt again intended to appoint a metropolitan for Lithuanian Rus’, his protégé, Grigory (Tsamblak) settled not in the devastated and dangerous Kyiv, but in Novogrudok, not far from the capital Vilna.

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In the future, after the final division of the united Russian Church into two metropolitanates-the autocephalous Moscow Church and the Kiev-Lithuanian Church (under the jurisdiction of the Constantinople Patriarchate), St. Sophia Cathedral continues to be only formally considered the main temple of the latter. Metropolitans of Kyiv only occasionally visit here from Novogrudok and Vilna. The temple continues to suffer from the raids of Crimean Tatars. Thus, it was plundered by the Crimean Tatars in 1497. At the same time, the Tatars killed St. Makary, the Metropolitan of Kiev, who was traveling to Kiev to put in order the ruined cathedral [1].

The seizure of the cathedral by the Uniates

The damage caused to the cathedral during the 16th century was so great that according to the words of a contemporary, the once majestic cathedral stood at this time without a roof. It is probable that during the same years services in St. Sophia of Kiev ceased. Otherwise it is difficult to understand how the cathedral could be seized by the Uniates, although only for a short time. It happened after the conclusion of the Brest Union in 1596. The power of the Polish king in Kiev was not too strong, and the Orthodox here were able to organize strong resistance to the union imposed by Sigismund III. Orthodox Kievers repulsed attempts by Catholics to seize Kiev-Pechersk Lavra and other Kiev temples. However not numerous traitors to Orthodoxy managed to establish themselves in the desolated Saint Sophia temple and held it for about three decades. But they disposed of the Orthodox relic in a peculiar way. Here is a record that in 1605 Uniate priest Philip, who ruled the cathedral of Sophia, “sold hewn stone on columns and gatherings to different people”. As a result of the Catholics` mismanagement the western gallery of the cathedral has completely collapsed.

The cathedral was returned to the Orthodox and the long-awaited restoration.

St. Peter (Mohyla) who became the Orthodox Metropolitan of Kiev in 1633 obtained from the king Vladislav IV the permission to take the ruined St Sophia cathedral from the Uniates and begin its restoration. Metropolitan Peter involved the Italian architect Octaviano Mancini in the restoration of St. Sophia of Kiev.

At the same time, its ancient mosaics and frescoes were whitewashed. The opening of the frescoes was only begun by Imperial order in 1848. This work was done without due care, and the frescoes were immediately and very crudely restored. In 1885 A. Prakhov opened mosaics in the dome and on the inside of the triumphal arch.

St. Peter (Mogyla) again made the Sophia Cathedral a Metropolitan Cathedral of Kiev and Galicia – the temple kept this status up to the beginning of the XX century. At the same time a small monastery was founded near the Sophia Cathedral. Unfortunately, despite the fact that under Peter (Mogyla) huge restoration works were conducted in the cathedral, the metropolitan never had time to complete them before his death – the western part of the cathedral continued to remain in ruins. The cathedral was finally revived only in the late 17th century, after the Kyiv Metropolitanate became part of the Moscow Patriarchate again under Patriarch Joachim and Metropolitan Gedeon of Kyiv. Not only Malorossian architects, but also Moscow masters, whose handwriting is seen in the shape of some casing of the cathedral, took part in the renewal of the temple. On the whole, St. Sophia’s Cathedral at that time acquires the features peculiar to Ukrainian baroque monuments – the temple gets the pear-shaped heads, its walls are decorated with stucco.

In the XVIII – XIX centuries the building works of St. Sophia Monastery were continued. The cathedral was decorated with the new gorgeous iconostasis of gilded wood, next to it there were built a high bell tower, a warm winter church (so-called “Little Sofia”), buildings of metropolitan’s chambers and monastic cells. The last time the Sophia of Kyiv was reconstructed was in 1882, when the western facade of the cathedral was reconstructed. During the Synod period (XVIII – beginning of the XX centuries) St. Sophia Cathedral continued to be the cathedral of the Metropolitans of Kiev and Galicia. Many of them were buried in the cathedral. There were consecrations of hierarchs in St. Sophia of Kiev: in particular, St. Theophanes (Govorov), the Hermit of Vyshensky, was consecrated here as a bishop.

Metropolitans are buried in the cathedral of Sophia: in 1824 – Serapion (Alexandrovsky), in 1837 – Evgeny (Bolkhovitinov).

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Revolution. Cathedral in the hands of dissenters

Dramatic changes in the fate of the cathedral came after the October coup of 1917. The St. Sophia Cathedral, perceived as a symbol of Kievan Rus, began to be claimed by adherents of the autocephalous schism, which finally took shape in 1921, when the so-called Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) was formed. The dissenters chose as its “first hierarch,” Archpriest Vasily Lipkivsky, banned from ministry for his schismatic activities. However Metropolitan Michael (Ermakov) Patriarch Exarch of Ukraine and other bishops of the Orthodox dioceses of Ukraine categorically refused to take part in the pseudo-deviation of dissenting autocephalists supported by the Bolsheviks in Kyiv and ordain bishops for the UAOC. As a result, the adherents of the schism made an unprecedented decision – in violation of the canons to “ordain” Lipkivsky “soborno”, that is, with the participation of priests, deacons and laymen, and not bishops, as required by the canons of the Orthodox Church. The sacrilegious “ordination” of the schismatic pseudo-mitropolitan was performed in the Cathedral of St. Sophia, which had not seen such outrages since the Middle Ages. Later Lipkivsky “ordained” other pseudo-archpriests of the UAOC. For their “ordinations” against the canons, the Lypkivsky dissenters were popularly nicknamed “samosvyaty”. Unfortunately, exactly these figures which have combined in the doctrine the nationalistic and renewed ideas, have seized in the hands the greatest shrine of Orthodox Russia – the Sofia cathedral.

Closure and conversion into a museum

However, the activities of the schismatic self-sacrificers did not last long. At first the Bolshevik authorities patronized them, hoping to destroy church life in Ukraine from within with the help of Lipkivians. But a negligible number of Orthodox believers followed the dissenters. Convinced of the ineffectiveness of the schismatic “church”, the Soviet authorities stopped supporting the UAOC, and in the early 1930s it ceased to exist on the territory of Soviet Ukraine. In 1934 St Sophia Cathedral was closed and in 1935 the ancient temple was turned into a museum-reserve. The fate of St Sophia of Kyiv was still better in comparison with St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery and other Kyiv monuments destroyed during the Soviet regime. In contrast to the Kiev Pechersk Lavra’s Dormition Cathedral, the Saint Sophia Church was not damaged during the Great Patriotic War either. However after the closure of the church Sofia was deprived of a number of valuable details of its decoration – the massive silver (114 kg in weight) Royal Gates of the main iconostasis were sent for melting, 8 iconostases of the side churches were destroyed, the tombstones of Kiev metropolitans were destroyed. At the same time the Soviet period was the time of intensive restoration works, in the course of which the valuable mosaics and frescos of XI century were released from under the late records, the facades of the temple and other buildings of St Sophia complex were restored.

The cathedral in post-Soviet times

Changes in the status of the church came at the end of so-called “perestroika. The Ukrainian authorities began to allow services to be held from time to time in St. Sophia Cathedral, which nevertheless retained the status of a state museum-reserve and still remains such. In October 1990, a Divine Liturgy was celebrated here under the direction of Patriarch Alexy II. During the liturgy, Patriarch Alexy handed Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Filaret (Denisenko) the diploma of granting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church full autonomy in government. At the same time, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, nationalistic sentiments began to revive in Ukraine. On their wave, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church was formed again. It was headed by Patriarch Kiev, who was elected in 1990. “Mstislav (Skrypnyk), elected “patriarch of Kyiv” in 1990, was headed by the authorities, who also provided St. Sophia Cathedral for his enthronement. Once again, as in the 20s and 30s, dissenters blasphemed in Sofia. However, the Ukrainian authorities never dared to give St. Sophia Cathedral to dissenters from the UAOC or the so-called Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate (formed in 1992, after the former metropolitan of Kyiv, Filaret, left into schism). But the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the sole successor of the Church that has existed since the Baptism of Rus, also did not receive the church back. Later, the cathedral was repeatedly given to the dissenters for “services. At the initiative of President Kuchma, “ecumenical prayers” were also held in it, which, as a rule, were attended by representatives of schismatic communities, various Protestant denominations, and even Islamic and Jewish communities. The hierarchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has consistently refused to participate in such events that contradict the canons of the Orthodox Church. The long-suffering cathedral, however, has been through worse in recent years – the adherents of the so-called “White Brotherhood,” whose leader, Maryna Tsvigun, went much further than the self-proclaimed “patriarch of Kyiv,” Filaret, by proclaiming herself no less than the living incarnation of God, have staged their covenant in its altar.

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The abbots, clergy

  • Gervasy (Lintsevsky) (? – June 25, 1742)
  • Platon (Levitsky) (1742-1744)
  • Dositheus (Dalekhovsky) (acc. 1758)
  • Hilarion (1764-166)
  • Joseph (1766 – 1767)
  • Victor (Lodyzhensky) (1768)
  • Melchizedek (1771 – 1774) [2]
  • .
  • John Levanda (1786 – June 25, 1814)
  • Demetrius Sigirevich (1814 – January 11, 1824) [3]
  • Stefan Semyanovsky (1824 – 1829) [4]
  • Callistrat Sokolovsky (1829 – March 9, 1849) [5]
    • Timofei Sukhobrusov (d. 1843 [6])
    • Grigory Kramarev (1856 – July 22, 1863)
    • Nikolai Ogloblin (August 5, 1863 [8] – 1877)
    • Vasily Kamensky (June 1877 – October 12, 1879)
    • Vasily Rozov (1886 [9] – 1890 [10])
    • Alexander Brailovsky
    • Peter Orlovsky (December 4, 1894 – August 1, 1908 [11])
    • Nikolai Brailovsky (June 1, 1909 – 1919)
    • Alexander Dolzhansky[16]
    • John Cererin[17].

    Bibliography

    • Д. V. Aynalov and E. Redin. “Kievo-Sofia Cathedral.” Spb. 1889.
    • Gr. I. Tolstoy and N. P. Kondakov. “Russian Antiquities, vol. IV. Spb. 1891.
    • Lazarev V. N., The Mosaic of Sophia of Kiev, Moscow, 1960; Sofia Kievan. Materials and research, K., 1973.

    Used materials

    • http://www.sedmitza.ru/index.html?sid=109&did=451
    • http://nesusvet.narod.ru/ico/books/grabar/grabar_6_1_03.htm
    • http://www.ortho-rus.ru/cgi-bin/or_file.cgi?rpc6_4667

    [1] St. Macarius was buried in the Sophia Cathedral. Here also his relics rested after finding until the closing of the cathedral in 1934. Later they were transferred to the Kiev Knyaz-Vladimirsky Cathedral, where they are now “in captivity” with the schismatic Philaretians.

    [2] Stroev P.M., Lists of hierarchs and abbots of monasteries of the Russian Church. – SPb., 1877. p.27.

    [3] Serebrennikov V. V., “Kiev academy from the half of XVIII century to its transformation in 1819”, Kiev, 1897, pp. 48 – 49, http://books.google.com/books?id=yvjvAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA48.

    [4] Zakrevsky N. V., Description of Kiev / Ed. of Moscow Archaeological Society, vol. 2. – M. : Tip. Grachev and K., 1868, p. 890, http://books.google.com/books?id=kkhdAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA890 ; http://www.nibu.kiev.ua/elfond/012/index.html ; Serebrennikov V. V., “The Kiev Academy from the half of the XVIII century to its transformation in 1819”, Kiev, 1897, p. 53, http://books.google.com/books?id=yvjvAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA53

    [5] Zakrevsky N. V., Description of Kiev / Izd. Moscow archaeological society, vol. 2. – M. : Tip. Grachev & Co, 1868, p. 890.

    [6] Belik Zhanna Grigorievna “The formation of a scientific approach to the restoration of ancient Russian paintings and the role of the Peshekhonovs in this process”, Dissertation. ca. art history : 17.00.04 Moscow, 2006, 265 p. http://www.dslib.net/muzee-vedenie/vozrozhdenie-drevnerusski. tml

    [7] Lebedintsev P., prot., [obituary] (+ Archpriest Ioann Mikhailovich Skvortsov) // Kiev diocesan gazette, 1863, no. 17( 2), p. 514; № 18 (2), с. 554.

    [8] “Orders of diocesan chiefdom”, Kiev diocesan gazette, 1863, ¹ 16 (1), p. 146.

    [9] Yazykov D.D. A review of the life and works of the late Russian writers. Vol. 10 [Russian writers and women writers who died in 1890] / [Op. by] D.D. Yazykov. – M. : typescript. A.I. Snegireva, 1907, p. 66, http://books.e-heritage.ru/book/10078737.

    [10] Obituary. Kiev diocesan gazette, 1890, ¹ 2, p. 47 and A.A. Rozhdestvensky, Memories of V.O. Kljuchevsky , footnote 2, http://az.lib.ru/k/kljuchewskij_w_o/text_1914_rozd_kluch.shtml

    [11] Biographical dictionary of graduates of the Kiev Theological Academy: 1819-1920s. Materials from the collection of prof. archpriest F.I. Titov and archives of KDA in four volumes. Volume II. K – P. // Publishing Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Kiev 2015, p. 426.

    [12] I LOVE THE ACADEMY AND WILL ALWAYS ACT FOR THE LOVE OF IT.” (LETTERS OF PROFESSOR D. I. BOGDASHEVSKY to A. A. DMITRIEVSKY). Vestnik PSTGU : History. History of the Russian Orthodox Church. 2013.Vyp. 5 (54). P.75-107 Footnote 72, http://pstgu.ru/download/1390568356.5Sukhova.pdf

    [13] Biographical dictionary of graduates of the Kiev Theological Academy: 1819-1920s. Materials from the collection of Prof. Archpriest F.I. Titov and the archive of the KDA in four volumes. Volume I. A – Y. // Publishing Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Kiev 2014, p. 536.

    [16] Vasily Anisimov, Fire that cannot be extinguished: A PARTICULAR LIST OF THE DESTROYED SPIRIT OF KIEV 1931, http://archivorthodoxy.com/page-429.html.

    [17] “By the union of fear we bind…” (Letters of Archpriest Vasily Prilutsky to Alexei Afanasyevich Dmitrievsky (1908-1927)), Vestnik of the Ekaterinburg Theological Seminary. Vol. 1(9). 2015, с. 142.

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    Interesting facts about St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev

    St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev is unique for its ancient mosaics and interior frescoes, the 19-domed temple is the pearl of the Ukrainian capital.

    Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev was built in the 11th century. This prominent architectural monument of Kievan Rus is one of the main attractions of the Ukrainian capital. The name of the Christian temple was associated with the divine wisdom (Sophia) contained in the new religion of Kievan Rus. The interior of the cathedral has the greatest number of mosaics and frescoes of the XI century on the planet. In 1990 the temple was included in the UNESCO list.

    The construction of St. Sophia Cathedral

    If the age of the foundation of the temple does not cause any controversy, then about the year historians opinions are divided.

    In the Nestorian “Tale of Bygone Years”, it is said that in 1037, Prince Yaroslav the Wise founded St Sophia Cathedral and several other buildings, to commemorate the victory over the Pechenegs. In the Novgorod chronicle the year 1017 is mentioned as the date of the foundation.

    A thorough study by the modern Ukrainian scholars Nikitenko and Kornienko named 1011-1018 the period of the construction of the Sofia cathedral. Hence it follows that two men built the Sofia assembly: Prince Vladimir began, and Yaroslav finished. The latter version served as a basis for the celebration of the millennial anniversary of the Sofia cathedral in 2011.

    For its erection in XI century builders from the Byzantine Constantinople have been invited. After its construction the temple became the main temple in Kievan Rus, taking away this title from the Desyatinna church. Here was the residence of the Orthodox metropolitan. Princes were crowned there, foreign ambassadors were received, the Kievan veche gathered by its walls. Yaroslav the Wise founded in the temple the first Old Russian library. In those times the metropolitan court was surrounded by a wall near which there were palaces of boyars and dwellings of citizens.

    The further history of the cathedral is full of dramatic events. It was repeatedly seized and plundered by enemies, it was partially destroyed, rebuilt and restored. In the hard 1240 year of conquest and plundering of Kiev by Batyi hordes the facade of the temple fortunately was spared, but many mosaics and frescos were lost. During the XV century, the cathedral, as well as the entire city, was twice devastated by the Crimean Tatars.

    Besides attacks of external enemies, sectarian strife also had a negative influence on the preservation of the cathedral. At the end of the 16th century it was seized by the Polish-backed Uniates, who did not care about its preservation. At that time the roofs and vaults of the galleries were destroyed, and many murals were lost.

    By the middle of the XVII century, thanks to the efforts of Metropolitan Peter Mohyla, the temple returned to the Orthodox. A small monastery for men was created here. The dilapidated cathedral was partially reconstructed in the Baroque style by the Italian architect Octaviano Mancini. Damaged frescoes and icons were restored, and the domes were given a pear-shaped form. Their number was increased by six more.

    After a fire in 1697, which destroyed the wooden monastery buildings and fences surrounding the cathedral, they began to be replaced by stone ones. During several decades, the belfry, refectory, bakery, metropolitan’s chambers, monastery wall and other constructions were built in Ukrainian baroque style. In the following centuries no cardinal restructures were made in the temple.

    After the October Revolution the cathedral briefly appeared in the hands of autocephalous Orthodox dissenters and functioned till 1929. Fortunately, 5 years later it together with monastic buildings of XVIII cent. was included into created historic and architectural reserve Sophia Kievskaya. After that, unfortunately, the cathedral was deprived of some valuable elements of interior decoration. But in those very Soviet years, within the framework of restoration works the main treasures of the cathedral – mosaics and frescos of XI century were released from later layers.

    Divine services were resumed already in independent Ukraine. But they didn’t last long. According to the UNESCO rules for the constructions included into its list, the cathedral must not belong to any religious organization, and the services must not be held there. This requirement has been violated since 2005 once a year – on the day of Ukrainian independence. On August 24, an “ecumenical prayer” for Ukraine is offered in the church. The local Orthodox Church, which belongs to the Moscow Patriarchate, does not participate.

    From the XI century only the ruins of the Golden Gate, which was the front entrance to Kiev in the period of Yaroslav, have survived to this day, except the cathedral.

    Features and frescoes of St. Sophia Cathedral

    The height of St Sophia Cathedral in Kiev is 29 meters, length – 55 and width – 42. Two-tier galleries surround the five-nave temple from three sides. Byzantine tradition in the west of the galleries two towers are built in, the stairs of which lead to spacious choirs. The main dome of the Saint Sophia Cathedral is a symbol of Christ. The 12 smaller domes remind of His apostles. The under-dome space is executed in the form of the cross. The columns are of the same sectional view.

    Inside St. Sophia Cathedral is very beautiful. Its interior is painted with monumental paintings – mosaics and frescos. The central dome, altars and arches of the cathedral are covered with the unique preserved mosaic of XI century. 177 tones of the total area 260 m 2 (originally it was 640 m 2). The main material of the mosaics is smalt (glass alloy with oxides of metals). Its fragments, sized 1*1 cm, were pressed into fresh plaster.

    The most famous are two mosaics of the temple. One of them is a 6-meter high “Unbreakable Wall”, located in the vault of the altar apse (ledge). It depicts the Virgin Mary with her hands raised in prayer (Oranta). It is believed that “Unbreakable Wall” protects both the cathedral and the city of Kiev. The stormy history of the temple which avoided a catastrophic destruction confirms this opinion.

    In the center of the main dome in the large medallion is depicted Christ the Almighty. The medallion is surrounded by four archangels. One of them, in a blue robe, is the original, and the figures of the rest were painted anew with oil by Mikhail Vrubel at the end of the 19th century.

    The rest of the interior is covered with frescoes. Their total area exceeds 3,000 square meters, but they are much worse preserved than mosaics. Frescoes on the walls of St Sophia Cathedral depict biblical stories – the childhood of the Virgin Mary, the Passion of Christ, the acts of the apostles, as well as the lives of the saints.

    The cathedral’s features include many graffiti graffiti inscriptions from the 11th century on the walls. Some of them provide valuable historical information. During the restoration, they, along with the mosaics and frescoes, were free of the whitewash that had covered them.

    The main relics kept in the temple are the crucifix, brought by Tsarina Olga from Constantinople, and the “Cap of Monomakh”, the monarch’s crown. It was presented to Vladimir Monomakh by the emperor of Byzantium.

    There were more than a hundred burials in the cathedral, including those of Yaroslav the Wise and Vladimir the Monomakh. The sarcophagus of the first of them survived. However, the study of the remains found in it showed that they belonged to a woman.

    How to get to St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev

    The address of the cathedral is Volodymyrska Volitsa, 24. Working hours are from 10 to 17 (on Wednesday – until 16:30) except for Thursday.

    The closest metro stations to the temple are the Golden Gate and Maidan Nezalezhnosti. Go down Volodymyrska Volitsia Street to St. Sophia Square. From the subway station “Maidan Nezalezhnosti” two blocks of Sofievskaya Street lead to St. Sophia Cathedral.

    The entrance tickets to the territory of the Sophia Kievskaya Reserve are 3 UAH (UAH) and to St Sophia Cathedral – 40 UAH (with the excursion service). Excursions take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (including excursions in Russian) hourly. The last guided tours on Wednesdays are at 3:30 p.m. and on the other days at 4 and 4:30 p.m.

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