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The Collegiate Church Of The Pyrohoshcha Madonna
(Sobor Bohorodytsi Pyrohoshchi)


The Monastery Of St. Michael Of The Golden Domes

 

Built in 1132, last altered in the beginning of the nineteenth century, demolished in 1935.

The main church of Kiev's merchants and craftsmen was the Collegiate Church of the Assumption. Founded in 1132 by Prince Mstyslav, son of the famous Prince Volodymyr Monomakh, the Byzantine style church was simply known as Pyrohoshcha. It was a plain, short basilica of three naves, three apses, and one Byzantine dome. In one way though, the Pyrohoshcha Madonna was unique for it was the first structure of the Kiev principality that was built exclusively of brick, without any stones. It also reflected the increased Western influences of the Romanesque style.
Through the centuries, the Pyrohoshcha Madonna functioned as the civic center of the Lowertown. During 1613-33, when the St. Sophia Cathedral in the Uppertown was the seat of the Uniate Catholic Metropolia, Pyrohoshcha Madonna was the Cathedral of the Orthodox Metropolitans.
The medieval structure was rebuilt several times. After the fire of 1811, four of its five Baroque cupolas were removed and the church acquired a neo-classical appearance. In 1835 the Pyrohoshcha Madonna's five story campanile was dismantled to accommodate street traffic. In its place, an attached neo-classical belfry, designed after the Russian style, was built over the main church entry. The interior of the church had a ten meter high iconostasis (1778) and royal gates (1784) of silver which bore the name of its benefactor-Zaporozhian Vasyl Bilyk. The Rococo style altar screen was considered to be one of the finest of that period.
Near the end of the nineteenth century, additions were built to the exterior of the church building, which housed shops. In 1929, these additions were removed in an attempt to restore the building's earlier appearance. Nevertheless, six years later the entire structure was dismantled.
The last years of the existence of this venerable church in the Podil were intimately tied to the destiny of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. When the St. Sophia Cathedral was closed for worship, its congregation was not allowed to relocate to any other church in the Uppertown and finally moved to the Collegiate Church of the Pyrohoshcha Madonna. Thus, in 1934, the twelfth century church once again became the Cathedral of the Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. A year later, as part of the proposed enlargement of Podil's historic Town Hall Square (now Red Square), the Pyrohoshcha was demolished. Investigations prior to its demolition established that despite its misfortunes and repeated remodelings, the church building retained most of its original twelfth century structure. Metropolitan Pavlovskyi had by then moved the seat of his Metropolia to the Church of St. Nicholas Prytyska in Podil. In June of 1935 the Church of St. Nicholas was closed down.
In the second half of the 1970s remains of the demolished Pyrohoshcha church were exposed by archeologists. They discovered that the foundations of the medieval church were four feet deep and consisted of building material of an even earlier structure. In connection with this, the Soviet press carried news of an archeological discovery in Podil in the summer of 1976. Proposals were also discussed in the 1970's to rebuild the Church of Pyrohoshcha Madonna in its medieval appearance.

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