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Chernihiv Sights | Boris and Gleb Cathedral
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Ukraine Chernihiv Sights | Boris and Gleb Cathedral
In the ancient center of Chernihiv near Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral there is another cathedral of princely period - Boris and Gleb Cathedral (1120-1123) - the tomb of princes of Davidovich family, later main cathedral of Boris and Gleb Monastery dissolved by decree of Russian Empress Catherine II in 1786.

Boris and Gleb Cathedral is a typical example of Chernihiv architecture of XII century. The cathedral is cruciform topped with only one dome of 25 meters height. Boris and Gleb Cathedral has impressive power. The cathedral construction is of high quality bricks - plinths, perfect masonry, delicate stone carvings. The design of parts of limestone facade decorated by relief ornaments in so-called "animal style" where floral designs together with fantastic birds and griffins. Griffins is a feature of Chernihiv architecture of XII century.

The research of scientists has established that Boris and Gleb Cathedral stand on more ancient structure - the remains of walls and foundations of which were found under the floor of the cathedral. Scientists presume that the ancient structure is two-chamber princely house or more ancient church or cathedral.

Since XII century Boris and Gleb Cathedral was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt. Every time its architecture took on new features. At the beginning of XVII century during Polish intervention the cathedral was rebuilt as Dominican Church. Another restructuring of the cathedral was in the second half of XVII century when it was rebuilt in Baroque style. Next in XIX century Boris and Gleb Cathedral was expanded to the east. The cathedral was badly damaged during World War II.

A new stage in the life of Boris and Gleb Cathedral became in post-war period when from 1952 till 1958 it was reconstructed in its original form by architect Nikolay Holostenko.

To this day almost did not survive fresco compositions that decorated walls and vaults of the cathedral. Only on the slope of the middle window of north wall above the portal barely visible geometric pattern of frescoes of XII century.

Exposure decoration of Boris and Gleb Cathedral are silver-plated Holy Gates weighing 56 kg. They were made in the beginning of XVIII century by order of hetman Ivan Mazepa in workshop of Philip Jacob Drentvetta in Augsburg in Germany. Luckily for us silver-plated Holy Gates are preserved intact but Baroque iconostasis of the cathedral was lost. In Boris and Gleb Cathedral was renovated ancient floor of slate slabs and part of the floor with colorful mosaics. In the north aisle there is a possibility to look at foundations of building of XI century which was before the construction of the cathedral.

Now Boris and Gleb Cathedral is a part of National Museum of Architecture and Historical Reserve "Ancient Chernihiv" and House of Choral Heritage where take place concerts of sacred music.

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