1 Kontraktova Square, Kyiv

About the place

In 1132-1136, at the foot of Zamkova Hill, by order of Prince Mstislav, son of Volodymyr Monomakh, a Church of the Virgin “Pirogoshcha” was erected.

Like many other temples, it was ruined during the Soviet era. But in 1998 a brand-new Church of the Dormition of the Virgin “Pirogoshcha” (1) was opened on this spot. The church’s primary name was connected with an Icon of the Virgin “Pirogoshcha” (pirgotis is Greek for “tower”; thus were called the icons depicting towers as the background, or those placed in the towers of the monastery walls). Such icon was brought to Kyiv from Byzantium before the construction of the church. According to legend, the icon was painted by the Evangelist Luke on the board taken from the Cenacle (the Hall of the Last Supper).
The Church of the Virgin “Pirogoshcha”, mentioned in The Song of Igor’s Campaign, was a small single-domed temple with three naves. As to its architecture, it resembled the cathedrals built in the ancient Russian cities, Smolensk and Novgorod. The walls of the church’s vault were decorated with frescoes, and the ceiling – with glazed and mosaic plates.
During the 17th-19th centuries, the Church of the Virgin “Pirogoshcha” was repeatedly remodelled. In the times of the decline of Kyiv, the temple got a new name – the Dormition Church. In 1613-1633, when St. Sophia Cathedral was in the hands of Uniats, the church became the metropolitan cathedral – a stronghold of Orthodoxy. In the 1770s, a prominent architect I.Grigorovich-Barsky reconstructed the church in the style of Ukrainian Baroque and erected a belfry near it. Unfortunately, in 1935 the temple was ruined. And only in the late 1990s, on the basis of the excavations carried out by the Ukrainian archaeologists in 1976, the church was revived and given the primary name.

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