St. Andrew’s Church – is a monument of history, architecture, painting and decorative art of the 18 century of world significance. It was built in the years 1747-1762 in the baroque style by architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The construction of the Andrew’s Church is included by the world community in the catalog “1000 miracles of the world. And also “Masterpieces of Humanity of the Five Continents “, issued in Germany in 2002.
St. Andrew’s Church was built on the order of the Russian Empress Elizabeth as part of the royal residence of the Tsar (Mariinsky) palace and palace church. In this place, according to the chronicle “Tale of Bygone Years”, the first preacher of Christianity on the lands of Kievan Rus – apostle Andrew – in the first century AD put a cross and predicted the emergence of a large city. Since the 11 century, here, changing one another, were built and destroyed wooden and stone churches in honor of Apostle Andrew.
Italian architect of St.Andrew’s Church
Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli (1700-1771) was born in Florence in the family of the Italian sculptor and architect Carlo Rastrelli, who worked at that time in the court of King Louis XIV. In 1716, Russian Emperor Peter I invited C. Rastrelli to work in Russia, where he came with his assistant – son Francesco.
The architect created about 70 buildings, which brought him recognition and fame. The most famous of them – the Winter Palace and the ensemble of the Smolny Monastery in St. Petersburg, the Catherine Palace in Tsar’s Village, the Grand Palace in Peterhof, and the palace complexes in the Baltics. The architectural heritage of Rastrelli in Kiev includes St. Andrew’s Church and Maryinski Palace.
The success of achieving the plan of Rastrelli should be credited to the famous Russian architect I. Michurin, who came from Moscow to Kiev for management of the construction of the Royal Palace and St. Andrew’s Church.
St. Andrew’s Church stands on a very composite from geological point of view sloping hill that is blurred with spring and groundwater. So the architect conducted a complex engineering-geological investigation of the construction site. Rastrelli never visited Kiev and he didn’t know that soils of the hill were not strong enough to support a stone structure. When Michurin realized this he suggested to construct a stylobate – a two-storied building deepened in the hill which roof was to become a basement for the church.
Masterpiece of Humanity
In the design of the facades of St. Andrew’s Church, Rastrelli used a cast of iron decoration, which had not been used for religious objects in the Eastern Europe before. The floor was covered with cast-iron plates. Icons for the iconostasis were painted by St. Petersburg painters.
Due to the appearance of serious problems in the external and internal policies of the empire, the royal court became indifferent to the St. Andrew’s Church, and it was removed from the lists of royal palace buildings. In 1768 the church was transferred to the Kiev magistrate. Since 1785 Kiev City Duma took care of the church. Nowadays in the temple are held worship services of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
St Andrew’s Church is very popular with tourists and film makers. One of the most famous comic movies was shot here. It was based on the play by the Ukrainian 19th century play writer Mykhailo Starytsky which title could be translated like “Trying to catch two heirs” which might correspond to the English proverb “Trying to seat between two chairs”, that’s why the monument to the main characters of this movie, as well as actors who played them, was installed in front of the church.