Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kiev's Golden-Domed Monastery Celebrates Restoration Anniversary

This past Sunday one of the earliest and best known monasteries in Ukraine, St. Michael's Golden-domed Monastery in Kiev (so named because its catholicon was apparently the first in Rus' to have golden domes), celebrated the anniversary of its restoration after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Monastery, which was an architectural masterpiece and historical landmark, was demolished during the Soviet era and replaced by a sports complex, only to be restored to its pre-demolition state after Ukraine became independent in 1991.

This past weekend's celebrations were led by Patriarch Philaret (Denysenko) of the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, whose theological academy and seminary are housed on the remaining grounds of St. Michael's. The celebratory services were concelebrated by auxiliary Bishop Ahapit of Vyshhorod, superior of the Monastery, and nine other hierarchs of the Kiev Patriarchate. More (in Ukrainian) here.

On a personal note, although I'm not a supporter of the Kiev Patriarchate, St. Michael's was my favorite place to go when I lived in Kiev. Its catholicon is one of the most beautiful churches in the city and is a good representation of both its Byzantine beginnings and its later Ukrainian Baroque remodeling. For anyone visiting Kiev the Monastery stands alongside Holy Wisdom Cathedral, the Kiev Caves Lavra, and St. Volodymyr's Cathedral as a must visit for both historical and artistic reasons.

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