St. Sophia

St. Sophia

 

a cathedral in Kiev, an outstanding example of ancient Russian architecture. The Cathedral of St. Sophia was the main religious and public building of Kievan Rus’, as well as the church of the metropolitan of Kiev. Its foundation stone was laid in 1037. Built mostly of fired brick, the large cruciform structure measures 37 × 55 m in area and has five aisles, five apses, and 13 domes. The main vaults are arranged in a steplike manner. The cathedral is surrounded on three sides by two-story galleries; the western gallery has two towers with stairways leading to spacious choirs. From the late 17th century to 1707 the cathedral was rebuilt in the Ukrainian baroque style. Interior 11th-century mosaics and frescoes have been preserved.

The cathedral was restored in the Soviet period. In 1934 the St. Sophia Museum, an architectural and historical museum-preserve, was founded. The museum includes not only the cathedral but also the surrounding complex of 17th- and 18th-century buildings.

REFERENCES

Lazarev, V. N. Mozaika Sofii Kievskoi. Moscow, 1960.
Sofiia Kievskaia: Materialy i issledovaniia. Kiev, 1973.

St. Sophia

 

a cathedral in Novgorod, an outstanding example of Russian architecture. It is now a museum.

Built in the Detinets, or kremlin, between 1045 and 1050, the cathedral was modeled after the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Kiev. It was constructed mainly of stone, with fired brick used mainly for the vaults. The large cruciform structure has five aisles and five domes; it is surrounded on the north, west, and south by two-story galleries, which originally were open. There is a stairway leading to the choirs in the gallery’s massive domed tower. Fragments of frescoes dating from the late 11th century, 1108, and 1144 have been preserved inside the cathedral. Also of note are the bronze Korsun’ Gates (1152–56), which are located on the western side of the cathedral, and icons from the mid-14th and early 15th centuries. Partly destroyed during the years 1941–14, the cathedral has since been restored.

The Cathedral of St. Sophia is distinguished by its awesome might, simplicity of form, and spare ornamentation.

REFERENCE

“Arkhitektura Sofiiskogo sobora v Novgorode: Noveishie issledovaniia.” In the collection Soobshcheniia instituía istorii i teo-rii arkhitektury Akademii arkhitektury SSSR, issue 7. Moscow, 1947.
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