St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery
Kyiv, 6 Triokhsviatytelska Street
+38 044 599 4797
The first documented reference about St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery occurs in the chronicles where it was said that on the 11th of July, 1106 near St. Demetrius’s Monastery and St. Peter’s Church the Prince Sviatopolk Iziaslavovich, the grandson of Yaroslav the Wise, began the construction of a new church dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel.
Until 1093 it was a small wooden St. Michael’s Church inside the monastery which creation is often credited to the metropolitan Michael I of Kyiv. The monastery was build circa 988. Only during the reign of Sviatopolk II Iziaslavovich, a new stone church was built instead of the wooden one.
When constructed, St. Michael’s Monastery was the first church with a “golden” dome in Kyiv, hence earning its “golden” name. The interior was decorated with marble, mosaics and frescoes.
In 1240 St. Michael’s Monastery was destroyed during the Mongol invasion. It was ravaged and partially demolished by the hordes of Baty-khan.
Throughout the centuries the territory of the monastery was expanding. The greatest changes occurred in the 17th-18th centuries. At different times Ukrainian hetmans made a big contribution to the development and improvement of St. Michael’s Monastery. In 1718 Bohdan Khmelnytskyi renovated the golden plating on the central dome at his own expense, Hetman Skoropaskyi rebuilt iconostasis, and Ivan Mazepa donated a chandelier and a silver reliquary for the relics of St. Barbara.
On the 17th of August, 1937 St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery was blown up. At the time of its renovation, all remains of the temple’s designing were displayed in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, the Hermitage Museum, as well as in the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.
At the end of the 20th century reconstruction operations began. Historians, artists, sculptors and woodcarvers had to learn old techniques and procedures.
St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery gained its popularity due to the beautiful mosaics and frescoes. Most art historians agree this is a new stage in the development of church painting of the Ancient Rus. The cathedral’s mosaics are often called “gleamy”. The founder of this school of painting is considered to be Alypii, the monk of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. On some walls there were graffiti – scratched drawings that were similar to the graffiti in St. Sophia’s Cathedral. The unique instrument carillon was installed on the temple’s bell tower. A specially trained musician can produce melodies of various complexity on the carillon.