Pyrohoshcha Church of the Mother of God
Church of the Blessed Virgin Pyrohoshchia was founded in 1132 by Prince Mstyslav, son of the famous Prince Volodymyr Monomakh, and was the main church of Kyiv’s merchants and craftsmen.
It is assumed that the name of the temple comes from the Greek word “pirogotis” which means “a tower”. This was the name given in Byzantium to icons displayed in the towers of monastery walls or in which towers were displayed. Before the construction began, the icon of the Blessed Virgin Pyrohoshchia was shipped from Byzantium to Kyiv, where it was kept in a tower of the church.
The church was unique as it was the first structure of the Kyiv principality built exclusively of brick, without any stones.
Church of the Blessed Virgin Pyrohoshchia was also mentioned in “The Lay of Igor’s Campaign”. Prince Igor Sviatoslavich came to the temple to give thanks for his delivery from captivity among the nomads.
The ancient church was rebuilt and reconstructed several times. In 1240 the temple was destroyed during Tartar raids, as well as damaged and devastated by the horde of Mengli Giray in 1482. In 1613 – 1633 it was the metropolitan church of Orthodox Kyiv (in those days, the church was known as Uspens’ka). It was also damaged by the fires in 1651 and 1718. Later, in 1752-1772 the architect I. Hryhorovych-Barskyi made reconstruction of the church in Ukrainian Baroque style, adding four external belfries. In 1808 it was slightly damaged by fire, the central belfry fell down the next year. After the Podil fire in 1811 the temple was rebuilt in the classical style according to the project of the architect A. Melenskyi. In 1835 a round three-tier belfry was built in the Empire style. Such forms of the church have preserved in some photos.
This Podil shrine was demolished in 1935. Archeological excavations of the church foundation were conducted in the second part of 1970. It was found that due to the growth of the cultural layer, the walls of the ancient temple of 12th c. remained under the surface of the 2-meters ground.
Thus, it was decided to rebuild the church in its primary structure. The final project of reconstruction was proved on the 9th of April, 1997. The restoration works started the same year and were successfully completed in March 1998.
At present, Church of the Blessed Virgin Pyrohoshchia is a functional temple of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate).