Address: 04071 Ukraine, Kyiv, Schekavytska str, 30/39, of. 4 E-mail: info@primetour.uaPhone +38 (044) 207-12-55Incoming Tour operator License АГ №580812Sitemap

Duma Square (now the Independence Square) at the beginning of the 20th century. Kiev
 
+38 (044) 207-12-55
+38 (096) 940-00-00
+38 (099) 550-00-00

Мы поддерживаем
реформы в Украине
и работаем
исключительно через
расчетный счет!
Duma Square (now the Independence Square) at the beginning of the 20th  century. Kiev
Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Menu

Museums in Kiev > Museum “St. Andrew`s Church”

 

Uniqueness of St. Andrew`s Church in Kiev is in its unusual location and architecture. The Temple was built on an artificial hill and it uses terrace of a two-storey building – stylobate, where long cast-iron staircase leads to its foundation.

This is the only monument of architecture, history and painting of the 18th century in Ukraine, created in style of imperial baroque according to the project of Italian architect Rastrelli. Out of all sacral monuments of this outstanding architect, where interiors were preserved partially and initial decoration either was not preserved at all, or remained in small fragments, St. Andrew`s Church has preserved the most authentic look till present time. Authentic architectural forms and grand part of exterior decoration have been wonderfully preserved here, as well as unique interior décor, which represent Orthodox Church interior of Baroque style. Iconostasis in St. Andrew`s Church is unique example of carving art. Its carved details were produced of lime tree according to sketches and drawings of Rastrelli by craftsmen I. Domash, A. Karlovskiy, M. Manturov, H. Oreidakh, D. Ustars and I. Grot in St. Petersburg. Gilded works were carried out by F. Leprens and I. Yevstifeev. Iconostasis of St. Andrew`s Church contains 39 icons, at creation of which “creative team” of the Chancellery of constructions, run by Ivan Vishnyakov, worked. They give bright impression about the character of Church painting of the middle of the 18th century.

Perfection of lines, accurate proportions, amazing harmony of forms and surrounding landscape gave this monument worldwide recognition and fame: St. Andrew`s Church is one of the four monuments of Ukraine, brought in the catalogue “A hundred wonders of the world”, published in Germany in 2002. National reserve “Sophia Kievskaya”, which includes St. Andrew`s Church in its composition, made an offer to put this Monument on the list of World Heritage of UNESCO.

St. Andrew`s Church is one of the most popular touristic objects in Kiev. It has long ago become the visiting card of the city and a model in building of cult constructions.


 

Zhanna Grigoryevna Litvinchuk

Director of the Museum “St. Andrew`s Church”
Zhanna LITVINCHUK:

“WE DO OUR BEST TO TAKE CARE OF THIS PEARL
IN ARCHITECTURAL NECKLACE OF THE CITY”

“When Andrew studied in Sinope and arrived at Korsun, he found out that there was the mouth of the Dnieper nearby. He wanted to leave for Rome and swam into the mouth of the Dnieper and moved up along the Dnieper. He happened to come and stand on the bank above the mountains. In the morning he got up and said to the followers, who were with him: “Can you see these mountains? Divine Grace will shine on these mountains, there will be a large city and God will raise many churches. And he went to those mountains and blessed them and set a Cross there and prayed God and descended from the mountain where Kiev would raise eventually, and moved up the Dnieper.

From this fragment from “Primary Chronicle” by Monk Nestor from Kiev –Pechersk Monastery, we start our acquaintance with sophisticated baroque architectural pearl of Kiev – St. Andrew`s Church. According to the legend, it was built in the area, where St. Andrew, the First-Called-Apostle set the Cross. And this is one of numerous legends, surrounding St. Andrew`s Church…

We will discuss secrets of the church and its history with the Director of the museum “St. Andrew`s Church”, which is part of the national reserve “Sophia Kievskaya”, Zhanna Grigoryevna Litvinchuk.

 

St. Andrew`s Church
from the side of Starokievskaya Mountain

The famous cast-iron staircase

View of St. Andrew`s Church
from the bottom of St. Andrew`s Descent

Andrew`s Descent has become an original cultural brand of Kiev, and it started with the Church of the same name, which gave its name to the Descent. Zhanna Grigoryevna, how did the history of the Church begin?

St. Andrew`s Church, which is considered architectural pearl of Kiev, was built on the order of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna in the middle of the 18th century, but not on empty space. Pagan shrine of Slavic God Perun used to be situated on the hill of the right-bank Dnieper in the area of Andrew`s Mountain. Vladimir the Christener ordered to destroy it right after christening of inhabitants of Kiev. A wooden Church was set on this place, named after St. Andrew-The- First-Called. St. Andrew`s Monastery appeared on the mountain in the 19th century. It was also called Yanka`s in honor of Yanka – the daughter of Prince Vsevolod Yaroslavovich. In general, this hill was always called Andrew`s among people and the churches, built on it, were called Andrew`s or Churches of Exaltation of the Holy Cross as a sign of the fact that it was Andrew who set his Cross on Kiev mountains. The street was first called Borichev Tok and the contemporary name St. Andrew`s Descent appeared much later.

Is it true that the Empress chose the place for the future church by herself and even set the first brick in its foundation with her own hands?

There are no reasons to talk about it because this fact has not been registered in any document, although such opinion is widely spread. But it is likely that the place on the mountain was pointed out by Her Majesty personally. It is well-known, that after visiting Kiev in 1744, the Empress was charmed with vivid beauty of our city and decided to place her summer residence here. She charged her favorite court architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, Italian in origin, who had created many constructions on the Empres`s order in St. Petersburg, with projecting of constructions. According to his drawings St. Andrew`s Church and Tsar Palace, which eventually was called Mariinskiy, were built in Kiev. By the way, the Church is often called “the swan song” of the famous Italian.

It is an interesting fact, that Rastrelli never visited Kiev, so he had no idea that his Church would be built on a mountain, which is always under danger of landslide. That is why architect Ivan Michurin, who came to Kiev from Moscow to built St. Andrew`s Church according to Rastrelli`s drawings, had to make great effort to carry out the Empress` order. It turned out, that the Church was supposed to be built not on a natural hill, but on an artificial one, which would become part of the ground bastion of Old Kiev Fortress. It was Michurin who contrived how to fix the Church on the hill and draw ground waters aside. The architect built a two-storey building – 14 meters high stylobate, adjoining the cut of the steep slope instead of ordinary foundation. It became basis for comparably light upper Church, which is 46 meters high together with the Cross. Later on, Sanctuary in honor of Heavenly Patroness of Elizaveta Petrovna great martyr Elizaveta was built to the 150th anniversary of the Empress. Michurin also offered to build a staircase to the Church porch, which added even more grandeur to the Church. At first it was wooden and only during regular repair works in the 19th century it was changed into cast-iron one.

 

Empress Elizaveta Petrovna

Architect Bartolomeo Carlo Rastrelli

How often is reconstruction of the Church carried out and how much has its appearance changed for these last 250 years?

The Church is lucky in a way – original Rastrelli`s drawings have been considered lost for a long time. They were found at Vienna Albertina Museum in the 60th years of the last century. That is why the last reconstruction of the Temple was carried out according to original drawings of the Italian architect in 1978-1979 in Kiev. Great work was done – in particular, primordial look of the domes was restored. At the end of the 19th century lightning stroke the central dome and practically destroyed it. Author`s drawings of Rastrelli were not found then, so the Church was restored according to other projects. As to works on fortification of the hill, where St. Andrew`s Church is built, rescue works were carried out here repeatedly in the 19th and 20th centuries. This is very complicated place for architectural solutions: the hill is constantly washed by spring waters, crumbles, slips down... For the first time such problems appeared during construction of the Church from 1749 till 1754. Interior and decoration works went on for eleven years longer. In 1761 after Elizaveta Petrovna`s death the Church began to decline – new Heirs of the Throne were not much interested in distant province. That is why St. Andrew`s Church was sanctified only in 1767. But divine service was not held there, first of all, because the Church did not have its own parish, since it was built as Tsar one. It doesn`t even have a bell tower to call congregation for divine service. But not much attention is given to it. One curious accident, which is a legend of local excursion guides, was connected with this unique peculiarity of St. Andrew`s Church. They say that at the beginning of the 20th century one of Kiev newspapers in order to amuse its readers in the issue from April published report of approximately the following content: “Bell Tower of St. Andrew`s Church crashed with terrible noise yesterday! Fragments of bricks covered the whole street. Hurry up to see!” It was supposed to make residents, who knew the look of the Temple laugh and forget about it. But another thing happened: almost half of Kiev residents hurried to the Church to see the terrible ruins with their own eyes. Even the Mayor of the city arrived at the “place of catastrophe” for finding out the reasons of force majeure. After that terrible scandal burst out.

 

Interior of the Museum

I have heard another legend: there is a secret spring under the Church. That`s why there are no bells, since their sound might make water wake up and flood Kiev...

There are really many similar legends. But the truth is there have always been problems with draining systems and derivation of ground waters here; from time to time ground and rain water caused land slipping of mountain slopes. That`s why St. Andrew`s Church always demanded more means for restoration and draining works than other church constructions. Let`s remember the words of the outstanding expert of history of Kiev Fedor Ernst, who wrote about St. Andrew`s Church in his famous guide-book “Kiev. Guide”: “The destiny of this church was always sad”. He meant that sometimes means for rescue works were gathered a little bit from here and there by residents of Kiev.

Were there no rich sponsors?

Andrey Nikolayevich Muravyev, who actually saved St. Andrew`s Church in the second half of the 19th century, was the most famous Maecenas. Not many people are aware of him now, but he was extremely interesting and well-educated person, an expert in church history, collector of antiquities, connoisseur of old times and also one of the first defenders and researchers of historic Kiev. He devoted his book “Kiev and its sacred places” to Kiev places of interest. The book was republished many times later. In 1850th Muravyev moved to Kiev for good and soon got a mansion right in front of St. Andrew`s Church. He admitted that although he was a Muscovite by birth, he became a resident of Kiev in his soul. That is why he did so much for Kiev and for our church in particular.

Andrey Muravyev –
historian, writer, collector, Maecenas

On the occasion of the 100 anniversary of St. Andrew`s Church, widely celebrated in 1867, on Muravyev petition Temporary Committee for its restoration, which dealt with beautification and fortifying of Andrew`s Mountain, was created. It gathered money for reconstruction of the Temple. On his initiative two warm churches were set in the Stylobate, one of which was devoted to Sergey Radonezhskiy. Unfortunately, they do not exist any longer – now these are ordinary premises under the sanctuary area of the Church. By the way, Andrey Muravyev was buried in St. Andrew`s Church. His grave is in the walls of one of these churches, near the crossing passage from one hall to another, on the first floor of the stylobate. There is a plate there with the name of Andrey Nikolayevich, dates of his birth and death. This plate is put on record and fixed in the funds by our Reserve and we would like to create Muravyev`s memorial room in the stylobate. It used to be planned to open museum halls and a cinema hall for showing local history films there, so that it would be possible to show films about architect Rastrelli and his other constructions…

We also planned to set a separate exposition, devoted to the history of the Church and repair-and-renewal operations – there a enough materials about St. Andrew`s Church in the funds of “Sophia Kievskaya”… I`m sure that such a museum would attract more than enough visitors. People keep asking us: ”What else is there to see here?” Unfortunately, for now the whole exposition is the building itself, its wonderful interior and several stands inside, which are taken care of by small collective of extremely devoted to their work people. And we all do our best to preserve this precious pearl in Kiev architectural necklace.

St. Andrew`s Church inside makes as strong impression as from outside.

Yes, this style is not quite typical for Kiev. Interior of the Church impresses with luxury and magnificence of decoration. Art critics determine it as Baroque. But the interior was created by Rastrelli closer to Rococo style, which was popular in the Imperial Court in the middle of the 18th century. It is wonderfully perceived as one architectural ensemble with exterior: original form of the domes, sophisticated gilded moulding, banding French windows and balconies, gorgeous frames for icons and painting it the arches. But the main emphasis is definitely made on iconostasis.

 

Fragments of interior of St. Andrew`s Church

Was it also designed by Rastrelli?

Yes, and luckily it has preserved its original appearance, just like on drawings of the Italian Master, like the other details of interior, including carving, modeling, communion table rotunda canopy, sermonic pulpit. This is a very rare thing and we are very proud of it. Not long ago in Tsarskoye Selo near St. Petersburg they decided to reproduce interior of another Church of Rastrelli – the one in Ekaterina`s Palace. On request of Russian restorers we made photo fixation of iconostasis of St. Andrew`s Church to enable them perform the restoration according to this example. Our iconostasis is really unique: it harmoniously combines grand pomposity with mild smooth contours. Besides, it has unusually rich purple color, which is spectacular background for gilded attached columns, cornices and luxuriantly decorated frames of icons. And the whole surface of Tsar Gate is covered with lace of carving, decoration of which exudes graceful heads of cherubs, figures of angels and “Crucifix” group, consisting of three figures, which crowns the iconostasis.

Ornamental works and carving were made by our Kiev craftsmen Iosif Domash, Kristofor Oreidakh, Andrey Karlovskiy, Matvey Manturov and Gregoriy Levitskiy. And the paintings for iconostasis were created by Russian painters Ivan Vishnyakov (he headed the creative team) and Aleksey Antropov. The most impressive works belong to his brush: “The Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles”, “Christ`s Sermon on the Mount” and composition “The last supper”, placed in the sanctuary.

Sanctuary in St. Andrew`s Church

St. Andre`s Church has been under reconstruction for almost a year. What problems are being solved this time and how threatening is its condition now?

At last, we can say that after several years of being in really disastrous condition, St. Andrews Church has waited till the State Administration paid attention to it and granted funds for repair and construction works on the slope. Serious landslides have taken place on Andrew`s Hill lately, although there have been no substantial shifts. It has very negative effect on construction that has been run on the neighboring streets and under the Mountain, on Podol, for several years. Numerous splits have appeared within the walls of the Temple and even on marble windowsills during this time. We still observe these “Blinking lights”, settled around the splits with fear – they keep increasing in width. And it is hard to imagine what it could cause, if reconstruction works had not started this year.

Besides, last year National ReserveSophia Kievskaya”, which includes our Museum as its part, submitted corresponding documents about St. Andrew`s and St. Cyril`s Churches for putting them onto the preliminary list of the World Heritage of UNESCO. They have certain demands as to technical condition of the monuments. We hope this fact will help to speed up repair works and solve other current problems.

One of them is use of St. Andrew`s Church for holding divine services there. Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church has been holding its service here for 10 years and seminary dormitory is situated in the Stylobate. It must be admitted that they punctually fulfill all the obligations of the contract, signed with then by “Sophia Kievskaya” National Reserve. But there are problems: at first they were supposed to run services at the biggest religious holidays and on important commemoration days. But eventually these services became daily, wedding ceremonies and christening parties are also held. All this brings much trouble, since appropriate temperature regime and air humidity should be maintained in the Museum. But candle-black accumulates on old paintings, some of which have started to crack because of excessive warmth. Nails for hanging new paintings are put into the unique Iconostasis. Restores are in despair.

 

Congregation and tourists in the museum “St. Andrew`s Church”

Unfortunately, all we can do is to prove ourselves and everybody, who visits the Museum, that St. Andrew`s Church is a monument of World importance. If our predecessors managed to preserve it, our duty is to maintain this unique monument in good condition for next generations.

Media Center of “Prime Excursion Bureau”.

October 2010.



Kievan Sophia National Historical and Cultural Reserve Kievan Sophia National Historical and Cultural Reserve

Kyiv-Pechersk Historic and Cultural Reserve Kyiv-Pechersk Historic and Cultural Reserve

Historical Treasures Museum Historical Treasures Museum

Nikolai Syadristy’s Museum of Microminiature Nikolai Syadristy’s Museum of Microminiature

National Museum of History of Ukraine   National Museum of History of Ukraine

Kiev Museum of Russian Art  Kiev Museum of Russian Art

Art Museum named after Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko (Kiev Museum of Western and Oriental Arts) Art Museum named after Bogdan and Varvara Khanenko (Kiev Museum of Western and Oriental Arts)

Chocolate House (a branch of the Kiev Museum of Russian Art) Chocolate House (a branch of the Kiev Museum of Russian Art)

National Art Museum of Ukraine National Art Museum of Ukraine

Museum of Folk Architecture and Life (Pirogovo) Museum of Folk Architecture and Life (Pirogovo)

\ "The National Museum of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945" Memorial Complex

"Chernobyl" National Museum

National Museum of Ukrainian Literature National Museum of Ukrainian Literature

Museum of book publishing in Ukraine Museum of book publishing in Ukraine

State Museum of Ukrainian Decorative Folk Art State Museum of Ukrainian Decorative Folk Art

State Museum of Theater, Music and Cinema of Ukraine State Museum of Theater, Music and Cinema of Ukraine

Holograms Museum Holograms Museum

Golden Gate Museum Golden Gate Museum

Museum “St. Andrew`s Church” Museum “St. Andrew`s Church”

St. Cyril’s Church, the 12th century architectural monument St. Cyril’s Church, the 12th century architectural monument

Kiev memorial house-museum of Mikhail Bulgakov Kiev memorial house-museum of Mikhail Bulgakov

One Street Museum One Street Museum

The Drug-Store Museum The Drug-Store Museum

International Museum of Ukrainian Embroidery International Museum of Ukrainian Embroidery

St. Michael’s Monastery Museum St. Michael’s Monastery Museum

Historical and architectural museum Kiev Fortress Historical and architectural museum Kiev Fortress

Memorial Museum of academician of medicine N. Strazhesko Memorial Museum of academician of medicine N. Strazhesko

National Museum of Medicine of Ukraine National Museum of Medicine of Ukraine

Ukrainian National Republic (UNR) Museum Ukrainian National Republic (UNR) Museum

Memorial to the Victims of Holodomor in Ukraine National Museum Memorial to the Victims of Holodomor in Ukraine National Museum

Soviet Occupation Museum Soviet Occupation Museum

Cultural Heritage Museum Cultural Heritage Museum

Cabinet-Museum of Vyacheslav Chernovol Cabinet-Museum of Vyacheslav Chernovol

Shalom Aleichem’s Museum Shalom Aleichem’s Museum

Central Museum of Armed Forces of Ukraine  Central Museum of Armed Forces of Ukraine

Central Museum of Ukrainian Border Troops Central Museum of Ukrainian Border Troops

Ukrainian Center of National Culture “Ivan Gonchar`s Museum” Ukrainian Center of National Culture “Ivan Gonchar`s Museum”

Mamayeva Sloboda – Cossacks` village in Kiev Mamayeva Sloboda – Cossacks` village in Kiev

Hetmanship Museum Hetmanship Museum

Aircraft Museum Aircraft Museum

Water Museum (Information Center of Water) Water Museum (Information Center of Water)

Fire Fighting Museum Fire Fighting Museum

T.G. Shevchenko’s National Museum T.G. Shevchenko’s National Museum

The Central State Archive of Literature and Arts of Ukraine The Central State Archive of Literature and Arts of Ukraine

Pedagogical Museum Pedagogical Museum

Polytechnic Museum of Kiev Polytechnic Institute (KPI) Polytechnic Museum of Kiev Polytechnic Institute (KPI)

M. Grushevsky’s Historical and Memorial Museum M. Grushevsky’s Historical and Memorial Museum

Taras Shevchenko`s Literary and Memorial House – Museum in Kiev Taras Shevchenko`s Literary and Memorial House – Museum in Kiev

Taras Shevchenko’s Literary Memorial House-Museum \ Taras Shevchenko’s Literary Memorial House-Museum "Hut in Priorka"

Kiev A. Pushkin`s Museum Kiev A. Pushkin`s Museum

Kiev Maxim Rylskiy`s  Literary-Memorial Museum Kiev Maxim Rylskiy`s Literary-Memorial Museum

Museum of Eminent Ukrainian Culture Personalities - Lesya Ukrainka, Mikhail Staritskiy, Nikolai Lysenko and Panas Saksaganskiy Museum of Eminent Ukrainian Culture Personalities - Lesya Ukrainka, Mikhail Staritskiy, Nikolai Lysenko and Panas Saksaganskiy

P. Tychyna’s Literary-Memorial Museum-Apartment P. Tychyna’s Literary-Memorial Museum-Apartment

N. Bazhan’s Literary-Memorial Museum-Apartment N. Bazhan’s Literary-Memorial Museum-Apartment

Maria Zankovetskaya`s Museum Maria Zankovetskaya`s Museum

Ivan Kavaleridze’s Museum-workshop Ivan Kavaleridze’s Museum-workshop

Composer V. Kosenko’s Museum-Apartment Composer V. Kosenko’s Museum-Apartment

Poet Dmitriy Lutsenko`s Museum Poet Dmitriy Lutsenko`s Museum

Museum of Bread Museum of Bread

Museum of the Main Astronomic Observatory of Ukraine Museum of the Main Astronomic Observatory of Ukraine

Kiev Observatory Museum Kiev Observatory Museum

Toy Museum Toy Museum

Post Museum Post Museum

Kiev Television Museum Kiev Television Museum

Circus Museum Circus Museum

Magdeburg Law Museum (Museum of the history of  Kiev self-government) Magdeburg Law Museum (Museum of the history of Kiev self-government)

Apiculture Museum Apiculture Museum

Kiev Charity Museum (House of Peter I) Kiev Charity Museum (House of Peter I)

Svyatoshin District Museum Svyatoshin District Museum

Lukyanovskoye cemetery State Historical and Memorial Reserve Lukyanovskoye cemetery State Historical and Memorial Reserve

Wax Figures Museum Wax Figures Museum

Toilet Museum Toilet Museum

Sewage Museum Sewage Museum

Recycled Materials Museum Recycled Materials Museum

Kiev Metro Museum  Kiev Metro Museum

Museum of Ukrainian Icon (Spiritual Treasures of Ukraine) Museum of Ukrainian Icon (Spiritual Treasures of Ukraine)

Ukrainian Modern Art Museum Ukrainian Modern Art Museum

Mistetskiy Arsenal Culture and Art Museum Complex Mistetskiy Arsenal Culture and Art Museum Complex

Center of Modern Art “Pinchuk Art Center” Center of Modern Art “Pinchuk Art Center”