The Cathedral of Assumption
The Cathedral of Assumption
(1158) was built on the steep bank of the river Klyazma. Prince Andrei intended to build
not simply a church but the principle cathedral of all Russians, which might then serve to
assist the unification of Rus. In 1185, Vladimir was struck by a disaster typical of the
period. A huge fire destroyed the town, including thirty-two of its churches. The
cathedral survived, but was seriously damaged. The cathedral was in danger of collapsing.
Prince Vsevolod III, then the Prince of Vladimir not only repaired the cathedral
(1185-1189), but also redesigned it to correspond to the spirit of age, while still
carefully preserving the old building. The old walls were surrounded by new ones, four new
domes were added. The reconstructed cathedral became one of the most solendid creations of
Russian architecture and a model for native builders down the centures.
In 1810, a tall bell-tower of eclectic design was erected, and in 1862 the heated winter Chapel of St. George was built. Restoration work designed to recover the former glory of the cathedral began at the end of the last century, and was continued shortly after the Great October Socialist Revolution, even during the years of Civil War from 1918 to 1920. The walls and domes were given their old covering, the walls were strengthened and the frescoes, painted between 1408 and 1409 by the brilliant artist Andrei Rublev and his companion Daniil Chorny, were cleaned. The white stone surface was reinforced, the dome regilded, the carving and icon frames renovated and the magnificent frescoes painted between the 12th and 19th century restored. Today the Cathedral of the Assumption, whose massive form rises up in the centre of the town overlooking the steep bank of the river Klyazma, appears as it did after it was rebuilt between 1185 and 1189.
The interior of the cathedral is
extremely interesting. The central section with its cupola ceiling is surprisingly tall
and is brightly lit by twelve windows. The galleries were intended to serve as burial
vaults for the princes of Vladimir and their walls were provided with niches for the
sarcophagi. The tomb of Andrel Bogolyubsky can be seen in the northeastern corner and
facing it lies the tomb of Vsevolod III.
The cathedral contains a splendid gilded iconostasis with a hundred icons framed with lace-like gilt carving on primed wood in baroque style. This iconostasis was installed in 1774 to replace a wooden iconostasis dating from the time of Andrel Rublev which had been taken to the village of Vasilyevskoye in the province of Vladimir. In 1922 the Soviet scholar, artist and restorer Igor Grabar brought the old icons to Moscow where they were cleaned Now they can be seen in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow and the State Russian Museum in Leningrad (St.Petersburg).
The surviving frescoes of Andrel Rublev and Danul Chorny, now cleaned and restored, reveal not only remarkable talent in depicting canonical subjects but also express particularly in the case of Rublev, the painters vision of goodness compassion, love of life and purity Best preserved and most famous are their frescoes the Lasr Judgement (beneath the choir gallery), and details from other compositions, including the figure of a warrior, fragments of a painting of Prince Vladimir, and a child surrounded by archangels. During the most recent restoration work the two more frescoes by Andrel Rublev were discovered— The Epiphany and The Refusal of the Gifts.
From the Cathedral of the Assumption standing on the oldest and highest point of the town there is a magnificent view of the low right bank of the river Klyazma with its blue green woods receding to the horizon and of the new bridge linking the town to the leisure area.
[Vocabulary] [Search] [Back]
[Sergiev-Posad] [Pereslavl-Zalesskiy] [Rostov] [Uglich] [Rybinsk]
[Yaroslavl] [Kostroma] [Suzdal] [Yuriev-Polskoy]