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Saint Michael’s Golden-Domed monastery
Sights - Kiev churches and cathedrals - Saint Michael’s Golden-Domed monastery

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Official name: Saint Michael’s Golden-Domed monastery in Kiev
Adress: Kiev, Trechsviatitelska street, 6
Built: 1108
Main information:

     St. Michael's Monastery was founded in the 1108-1113during rule of the Kiev prince Svyatopolk Izyaslavovich on the site of former Dimitrievski monastery. Monastery was the first one in Kiev with the Domes gilded so he was called “golden-Domed monastery”. This became later a tradition for Ukrainian church building.  There is a believe that the construction of monastery was dedicated to the victory over the nomadic tribes of Polovtsians. The construction was dedicated to the Michael the Archangel that was considered a patron of warriors and victories nd also a defender of Kiev.

History:

     Saint Michael’s Golden-Domed monastery was built in a mixed Byzantine architectural style and it’s interior decorated with splendid mosaics and frescoes. In the XII century monastery was the burial place of prince’s family. St. Michael's Cathedral was considered one of the finest monumental buildings of ancient Kiev - it was a cross-domed church with three naves.

     In 1240 Kiev was hardly damaged by the chords of Tatars and Mongols, population was slaughtered, Kiev’s main churches and cathedrals ruined. For a centuries Kiev was stagnating. St. Michael’s monastery in Kiev faced the same depression that had lasted to the end of 15th century. In the end of 1490’s the reparations of damaged monastery began it was again inhabited by monks. Monastery’s exterior was renovated in the unique Ukrainian baroque style, while ancient interior preserved.

      In the XVII century the monastery became a major landowner: he owned part of the territory of Kiev and was one of the most visited place of pilgrimage in the city. After Pechersk Lavra it was the second place in Kiev on the number of visiting pilgrims. Cathedral is now turned into a seven-domed building, all of which the dome was covered with gold pieces. In 1713 the church built the refectory, in 1716-20 - stone bell tower. In these period monastery received many donations by Ukrainian Hetmans, one of the most significant was the sarcophagus with the relics of the St. Barbara brought to Kiev in the 12th century.

     In 19th century St. Michael’s monastery in Kiev was just one of the most popular religious destination in Kiev, partially due to the Saint Barbara relics that were laying there. In the middle of 18th century Kiev was deceased with a terrible plague and cholera. The Saint Michael’s monastery miraculously survived this times and no one from monks had died. People believed that the main reason was the relics of Saint Barbara and there were even saying, that if you bless the ring in the monastery it will protect you from witches and black magic, even from death.

     The glorious times of monastery were ended with the invasion of Bolsheviks to Kiev and the establishment of Soviet Union. Monastery was barbarically robed and al the splendid ancient frescoes and mosaics were destroyed, sold or just transported to the Moscow and Saint Petersburg. In the 1930’s great monastery was blown up and totally annihilated by communists – so easily was erased an ancient cathedral from the face of Kiev.

     Only in the times of independent Ukraine, starting from 1991 were started discussions about resurrection of Saint Michel’s Golden Domed monastery in Kiev. In 1999 year the reconstructed monastery was erected. Even the exterior of the monastery was totally rebuild, some part of internal decorations were brought back to the cathedral. 

Interesting facts:

In the XII century monastery was the burial place of princes.

St. Michael's Monastery was the first temple in Kiev Rus with gilded domes - it affected the further principles of Churches 

Prior to joining the Bolsheviks in Kiev, St. Michael's Monastery was the second most visited temple in Kiev after the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra

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Kiev sights