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Chernihiv Sights | Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral
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Ukraine Chernihiv Sights | Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral
Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral
- one of the oldest cathedrals in Ukraine and ancient Kievan Rus located in a historic place in the center of Chernihiv former citadel and was the dominant feature of the city. Construction of the cathedral began in 1033-1034 by order of the first Chernihiv Prince Mstislav Vladimirovich Brave.

First time Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral mentioned in the chronicles in 1036 following the sudden death of Mstislav Vladimirovich Brave. At this time the walls of the cathedral reached about 4 meters. Probably with the death of Mstislav Vladimirovich Brave the construction of the cathedral has stopped and Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral was completed by the next Chernihiv Prince Svyatoslav Yaroslavich.

Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral was built in Byzantine architectural traditions. Spatial design of the cathedral is unique because such a structure does not have any known ancient churches and cathedrals - Byzantine cross-dome scheme in harmony with the elements of the Romanesque basilica.

The system of masonry used in construction of Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral was also adopted from Byzantine builders. It called "mixed masonry" when along with Kievan Rus bricks used natural stone. The facades of the cathedral are decorated with ornamental patterns created by bricks during masonry. Connection of brick patterns, brickwork and natural stone gave the facade of Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral solemnity and beauty.

On the north side to the western facade was added a round tower inside which rose up helical stairs to the choir of the cathedral. This tower is intended for the Prince and his entourage while liturgy. The wooden floor of choir burned in a fire in the middle of XVIII century and later the room was not restored. After Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral was completed to its south-western corner built small domed church designed for the christening ceremony.

In ancient times interer of the cathedral was richer and more beautiful than it is today. The walls and vaults were decorated with frescoes, carved slate floor was paved with slabs of slate with colored mosaic insets. Currently in Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral is possible to look at fragments of ancient frescoes, carved railings of chorus and massive columns which are hidden inside the remnants of the original white marble columns.

In Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral there is wooden Baroque iconostasis which was built at the end of XVIII century as the previous one was destroyed by fire in 1750. During the subsequent repair was demolished the church of christening ceremony and in its place built a round tower in the plan symmetrical to the north one. Both towers crowned with tall spiers and have changed the shape of domes of the cathedral.

At the beginning of XIX century to the north, south and west facades built a large vestibules so Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral acquired its present form.

Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral in ancient times was the prince's tomb. In the cathedral found peace princes - Mstislav Vladimirovich Brave, Svyatoslav, Gleb Svyatoslavich, Oleg Svyatoslavich, Svyatoslav II, Vsevolod Svyatoslavich, Jaroslav Vsevolodovich and others. Since 1896 in the cathedral there are relics of Saint Theodosius of Chernihiv.

Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral has always been the main shrine of Chernihiv - its social and political center. During times of Kievan Rus here were announced the prince decrees. In 1814 was installed banners of Chernihiv Regiment that took part in the war against Napoleon and in 1856 - the banners of Crimean War 1853-1856. The cathedral was so honored that it was visited by all Russian monarchs and members of the royal family who came to Chernihiv.

Since XIX century Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral was studied by historians, architects and archaeologists. Currently the cathedral is a part of National Architecture and Historical Reserve "Ancient Chernihiv".

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