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St. Sophia Cathedral

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Posted on 16 January 2012

Last Updated 16 January 2012

St. Sophia Cathedral

Novgorod Sophia Cathedral - one of the greatest monuments of ancient architecture. The value of the Novgorod Sophia in social and political life of ancient Novgorod was extremely high. The favored son of Yaroslav the Wise - Vladimir prince of Novgorod in 1045 - 1050 years, Sofia has a DA's of the twelfth-century church has ceased to be the prince, turning to the main temple of Novgorod Veche republics, until the last few years of independence of Novgorod Sophia was a symbol of Novgorod.

St. Sophia Cathedral. 2011.

The monumental temple is crowned with an array of five domes. In ancient times, the cathedral was covered with lead sheets. Only the middle dome is already in the fifteenth century was lined with gilded copper.

St. Sophia Cathedral. 2008.

St. Sophia's Cathedral at night. 2003.

January 2010, the dome of St. Sophia Cathedral at sunset.

In 1045 Grand Prince Yaroslav the Wise and Princess Irina (Ingegerd) went to Novgorod from Kiev to Vladimir's son on the tab named Sophia Cathedral. Cathedral was built about 1050, instead of burned-out before the 13-head of a wooden church 989 years, but at the same place, and the north. The cathedral was consecrated according to various chronicles in 1050 or 1052 Bishop Luke. Temple had five aisles and three galleries, which was located a few extra thrones. North gallery was rebuilt several times.

Originally the walls were whitewashed church is not, except in terms of curved apses and drums covered with a layer tsemyanki. The inside of the walls were bare, while the arches originally plastered and covered with frescoes tsemyankoy. This design was chosen under the influence of architecture of Constantinople, in which the marble walls combined with mosaics on the vaults, but the marble was replaced with limestone, and mosaic - murals. Entirely coated with tsemyankoy walls were probably already in 1151.

On the west portal of bronze mounted gate Magdeburg in the Romanesque style, with lots of reliefs and sculptures.

Photo of 1900. Author: AeJse Trasarebre

In 1929 the cathedral was closed and it was open anti-religious museum. The museum presents the treasures kept in the sacristy of the cathedral - as an example of "fabulous wealth of the church." During the occupation of Novgorod by Nazi troops church was heavily damaged and looted after the war, fully restored and became the Department of the Novgorod Museum. In 1991 he was transferred to the ROC and the August 16, 1991 consecrated himself Patriarch Alexy II. In 2005-2007, made the restoration of the cathedral dome.

Saint Sophia Cathedral in kupure 5 rubles. A sample of 1997.
Architectural features

The cathedral is a five-naval cross-domed church. Temples of this type were built in Russia only in the XI century, they were among the Novgorod Sophia are: St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev and Polotsk and Kiev Church of Irene and George. Apsidal three central pentahedral, side - round. On three sides of a central building surrounded by large two-story gallery. The time of the gallery and its original form are the subject of scientific debate, but it probably occurred already in the process of building the temple.

The Cathedral has five chapters, the sixth stair tower is crowned, located in the western gallery of the south entrance. Cupola chapters are in the shape of ancient helmets.

The main volume of the cathedral (free galleries) has a length of 27 m and a width of 24.8 m, with galleries length is 34.5 m, width of 39.3 m. The height from the floor of an ancient, located at 2 m below the present, to the top of the cross Central Chapter - 38 m. The walls having a thickness of 1.2 m, composed of limestone of various shades. The stones are not finished (podtesana only leaving on the surface of the walls side) and sealed with lime mortar with admixtures of crushed brick (so-called. Tsemyanka). Arches and arched lintels and arches are made of brick. The interior of the temple close to Kiev, although the proportion of elongated vertical arches and narrow vertical compartments between pillars are noticeably different. Because of this, the interior is of a different nature. Some parts have undergone simplification: triple arcade replaced two-span (later replaced by the lower tiers of wide arches).
Murals and paintings of St. Sophia Cathedral

For the first time the church was painted in 1109, but from medieval frescoes were only fragments of the murals of the central dome and "Constantine and Elena" in Martirevskoy porch. There is a version that this image was to be the basis for the mosaic, as performed strongly diluted paints. The mural "Pantokrator" in the main dome was destroyed during World War II. The main painting was done in the XIX century. Inside the cathedral, three of the iconostasis. Of these the most famous chief (XV-XVI) and Christmas (XIV-XVI, some icons - XIX century). Among the highlights of icons:

    Our Lady of "The Omen"
    Euthymios Great, Anthony the Great, Sava the Sanctified
    Sophia, the Wisdom of God (XV century). Located in the central iconostasis. Characterized by a great symbolism, even in comparison with the icons of the same type. For example, Wisdom in Novgorod version is red, signifying Christ's sacrifice.
    Tikhvin icon of the Virgin (XVI). Christmas is in the iconostasis. This icon is located in Novgorod at the time of Stolbovo. Reese made on an icon to order the princess Sophia.


In the cathedral are the remains of six permanent Saints: Princess Irene, her son, Vladimir, Prince Mstislav and Theodore, archbishop of Nikita and John. Also in the cathedral can be seen tombs of bishops XVIII-XIX centuries.
Cross the main dome and the legend of the Dove

On the cross, the central dome is a lead figure of a dove - the symbol of the Holy Spirit. According to legend, when in 1570, Ivan the Terrible dealt ruthlessly with the people of Novgorod, on the cross pigeon Sophia sat down to rest. Seeing out a terrible massacre, dove petrified with horror. After the Lady opened one of the monks that the dove was sent to comfort the city - and while he did not fly off from the Cross, the city will keep them.

During the Great Patriotic War, 15 August 1941, Nazi troops occupied Novgorod. When one of the bombing or shelling of a cross with a dove was shot down and hung on fixing the ropes, and the commandant of the city ordered him to withdraw. In Novgorod, during the occupation of the Corps of Engineers located the Spanish "Blue Division" fought on the side of Nazi Germany, and as one of the trophies, cross the main dome was taken to Spain. At the request of the Governor of the Novgorod region to the Embassy of Spain in Russia in 2002, it was found that the cross is in the chapel of the Museum of Military Engineering Academy in Madrid, Spain. The rector of the cathedral of St. Sophia Cathedral, the Archbishop of Novgorod and Staraya Russa Lion, having received information about the location of the dome of St. Sophia Cross, at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, asked about the possibility of returning the cross to Novgorod. As a result of the negotiations of the Russian president and the king of Spain Spanish side agreed to refer the cross of St. Sophia Cathedral in Russia.

November 16th, 2004 at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, he was returned to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II of Spain and minister of defense now available in the St. Sophia Cathedral. By request of the Administration of Novgorod had made a replica of the cross found in Spain. She transferred to the Spanish side instead of the original. The cross is now located on the central dome, constructed in 2006 and set January 24, 2007.


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