St. Andrew’s Church opens in Kyiv after major restoration

11 years of unprecedented restoration works

St. Andrew’s Church in Kyiv is a world-known architectural monument and UNESCO World Heritage site. It is part of the National Reserve “Sophia of Kyiv” and a museum since 1968.

The church belongs to the state, but since 2018 it has been partially transferred to the use of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

In December 2020, St.Andrew’s Church was finally opened after almost 11 years of major restoration. Such unprecedented work was done for the first time in the history of the church.

The process of restoration of one of the most famous baroque monuments in Ukraine started in 2009 and was organized in three stages: reinforcement of the basement on the hill; restoration of external facades; work on interiors.

Simultaneously with the work on the facades, for the first time ever, was carried out a restoration of the cast-iron stairs leading to the porch of the church. Each step was dismantled, restored, and returned to its original place after the repair and strengthening work.

St.Andrew’s Church after 11 years of restoration works

On the route of my Kiev Old Town Tour, we definnitely visit St.Andrew’s Hill where the church is standing. From the observation deck of St. Andrew’s Church opens one of the most breathtaking views of the city of Kyiv.

Restoration of the exterior of St.Andrew’s Church

After the external fortifications, restorers began to work with the facades of the temple. Scientists sought to recreate as close as possible to the authentic project of the 18th century. The architect of the church, Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli designed it together with the Mariinsky Palace, therefore their style is very similar.

The works of restoration of the exterior started in 2015 and lasted 2 years. In October 2016, the third stage of restoration work of the interior began. And this time, the church was closed to visitors and parishioners for 5 years.

For the first time in history, in St. Andrew’s Church was restored the throne, which symbolizes the place of the installation of the cross by the Apostle Andrew on St. Andrew’s Hill in the 1st century AD.

Amazing efforts were made by restorers with returning to the church the original colors of the walls. There were discovered 13 layers of later centuries of paint that covered the original authentic surface.

The restorers did an impressive work of literally “digging” through these 13 layers using scalpels. In such a way, returning the original color of the walls that were painted according to the project of Rastrelli.

Unique iconostasis of St.Andrew’s Church in Kyiv

St.Andrew’s Church has preserved the only complete iconostasis in the world created by Rastrelli.

Six art restorers were working on the icons of the iconostasis for 3 years. For the work were involved experienced craftsmen and restorers of the highest category.

During the last restoration works, the restorers got a surprise from the predecessors-colleagues of Soviet times. They noticed that the sequence of icons in the iconostasis was uncanonical.

There was found an archival photo of pre-Soviet times with an authentic image of the iconostasis. It was obvious that the icons in our days are placed in the iconostasis in the wrong order.

It turned out that during the repair works in the 1950s, restorers did not go deep into details of canonicity and placed icons after repair works into “wrong” frames, just because some of them fit in the size.

13 of the 39 icons of the iconostasis have been confused. Now the iconostasis is in the exact form as Rastrelli conceived it and how the St.Petersburg artists implemented it at the beginning.

It was also discovered that two crosses of the iconostasis had disappeared. The restorers assume that they were repulsed in Soviet times. Now the crosses have been restored back to their places.

Paintings on the walls of St.Andrew’s Church in Kyiv

In total, there are 68 icons from the mid-18th century and 2 large paintings of the 19th century in the church.

Ukrainian Artist Platon Boryspolets created the painting “Sermon of Apostle Andrew”  and presented it for the centenary of the consecration of the church 150 years ago. The painting was made in Paris, as a project work of the author to join the Paris Arts Academy.

Above the stairs hangs a painting of the 19th century “Choice of Religion by Prince Volodymyr” by Latvian artist Egginka.

For better light inside the church, there was installed a special system of lamps for interior lighting of the main elements, to make it easier for visitors to see all its beauty. After the final restoration, it is forbidden to light candles inside the church during the church service.

19th-century painting “Sermon of Apostle Andrew”
painting 19th century Kiev
 “Choice of Religion by Prince Volodymyr” by Latvian artist Egginka.

St. Andrew’s Church – is a prominent monument of baroque art and oil painting of world importance of the 18th century. This is a restored Ukrainian architectural diamond that will surely impress the heart of tourists from any part of the world.

Be sure to find time to visit it. You will be impressed by the decoration of the temple and its stunning exterior.

About the Author

Hello! My name is Victoria, I am a private tour guide in Kyiv. If you plan a trip to the Ukrainian capital, I would be happy to customize your perfect Kyiv private tour.

I can create a private tour of Kyiv on a wide range of topics from ancient times to Soviet-era Kyiv, architecture and street art, and local gastronomy.

Just let me know your ideas and I will design a tour built around a theme of particular interest that you wish to learn more about. I will take great professional care of you, making your visit one to remember.

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2 thoughts on “St. Andrew’s Church opens in Kyiv after major restoration”

  1. Hello Victoria,
    I am sure I am joined by many in the world in hoping you are safe and well during this war insult on your beautiful country and peoples.

    I have just viewed your post regarding St Andrews Church restoration. So much tedious detail and meticulous attention to detail to once again return authenticity to the church. I noted the the restorations were completed during the worst of the Covid 19 outbreak and it seems, just before current invasion and onslaught on your country from Russia. I am curious to know if St Andrews Church has survived the bombing and looting so far in this long war? I very much hope so.

    History preservation is so important to the future, most especially to a war-ravaged country who need to see the familiar infrastructure to remind the of how far they have come, remind them of how life was and how it can be again, give hope and determination for people to recover from the devastation and loss. I believe this is also true for those of us who have not experience what your people are going through, that is, to see your country rise from the ashes of war and forge forward also gives hope for the rest of us who could only watch-on in horror.
    Best regards to you, your family and your country folk.

    1. Hi Jude! Thank you for stopping by and writing this warm comment to me. The sky fell on my homeland on February 24, 2022. Proud and brave, my people are struggling against the devil enemy. We will withstand.
      The pearl of baroque architecture, St.Andrew’s Church is standing and nothing bad has happened to it. How happy I was, showing it to my guests after the long-term restoration. Hopefully, will do it soon again.
      Stay with Ukraine! And thank you for your support.

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