St.Andrew’s Church in Kyiv – Pearl of Baroque Architecture
St. Andrew’s Church in Kyiv is one of the most beautiful and historically significant landmarks in our city. Located on a hill in the picturesque neighborhood of Podil, it offers stunning panoramic views of the Dnipro River and the surrounding areas. This Baroque-style church, built in the mid-18th century, is a true gem of Kyiv’s architectural heritage and a testament to the city’s rich cultural and religious history.
The church’s interior is just as impressive as its exterior. Its ornate decor, with its intricate frescoes, stunning chandeliers, and beautiful iconostasis, is a testament to the skill and creativity of the artists and craftsmen who worked on it. The atmosphere inside is peaceful and serene, making it the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and find solace in prayer and meditation.
As a proud citizen of Kyiv, I feel a deep connection to St. Andrew’s Church and the role it has played in shaping our city’s history and culture. In December 2020, St.Andrew’s Church was finally opened after 11 years of major restoration. It is a symbol of our rich heritage and a reminder of the resilience and determination of our people. Whether you are a local resident or a visitor to our city, a visit to St. Andrew’s Church is an experience you will never forget.
St. Andrew’s Church was built between 1747-1762 on the project of the Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The church is considered a world treasure and has been included in catalogs such as “1000 World Miracles” and “Masterpieces of Humanity of the Five Continents.”
According to the chronicle “Tale of Bygone Years,” the first preacher of Christianity in the lands of Ukraine-Rus, Andrew the Apostle, erected a cross on the hill where the church stands today and predicted the emergence of a Christian city on that land.
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Creator of St.Andrew’s Church – Italian architect F.B.Rastrelli
Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the architect of St. Andrew’s Church, was born in Florence in 1700. He was a highly successful architect who created about 70 buildings, including the Winter Palace and the ensemble of the Smolny Monastery in St. Petersburg, the Catherine Palace in Tsar’s Village, and the palace complexes in the Baltics.
The success of achieving the plan of Rastrelli should be credited to the Russian architect Ivan Michurin, who came from Moscow to Kyiv for the management of the construction of the royal Palace and St. Andrew’s Church.
St. Andrew’s Church stands on a very composite from a geological point of view sloping hill which is washed out by the spring and groundwater. So the architect conducted a complex engineering-geological investigation of the construction site.
Rastrelli personally never visited Kyiv and he didn’t know that the soils of the hill were not good enough to support a stone structure. When Michurin realized this he suggested constructing a stylobate – a two-storied building deepened in the hill and its roof was to become a basement for the church.
Masterpiece of Ukrainian Baroque Art
St. Andrew’s Church boasts a unique design by the famous architect Rastrelli, who incorporated cast-iron decoration, an uncommon feature for religious buildings in Eastern Europe at the time. The church’s interior features a stunning iconostasis with icons painted by talented St. Petersburg artists, and the floor is covered with cast-iron plates.
Despite its significance, St. Andrew’s Church suffered neglect due to political turmoil in the empire, and in 1768 it was transferred to the Kyiv magistrate. Later, the Kyiv City Duma took the church under its protection in 1785, and it now serves as a place of worship for the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Today, the church is a prominent landmark of cultural heritage as part of the National Sanctuary “Sophia of Kyiv”.
St. Andrew’s Church has become a favorite destination for tourists and filmmakers, with some scenes from the popular Ukrainian comedy “Chasing two hairs” filmed on its grounds. A monument to the film’s main characters stands proudly in front of the church, adding to its charm and appeal. If you’re ever in Kyiv, a visit to St. Andrew’s Church is a must to appreciate its stunning architecture and rich cultural significance.
St.Andrew’s Church during Soviet times
St. Andrew’s Church served as a functional church until 1932 when the Soviet government prohibited divine services from being held there. However, during the Second World War, the church resumed its services once again. But in the 1960s, it was closed once more.
In 1968, the temple’s doors opened again, but this time as a branch of the St. Sophia Preservation. It was an architectural and historical museum, showcasing the church’s rich history and cultural significance to all who visit.