The Belfry of the former St. Catherine Greek Orthodox monastery (beginning of the 20th century)

The Belfry of the former St. Catherine Greek Orthodox monastery (beginning of the 20th century)

In the south-eastern corner of the Kontractova Square there is an elegant belfry of the former St. Catherine Greek Orthodox monastery that was a peculiar adornment of Podil in the 18th century.

The Greek colony in Kyiv emerged back in the 1650s, when Orthodox emigrants from the Ottoman Empire sought rescue from Turkish oppression in Ukraine and began to settle on Podil. Soon there was a need in the church, where the services would be provided in Greek language. The land under the monastery courtyard was dedicated by a wealthy Greek merchant Astamatio Stimati. In 1738 a wooden chapel was built here. Next year the church community received an official permit from the Kyiv magistrate to build its own temple. In 1741 a stone church of St. Catherine in the style of Ukrainian Baroque was built, where the Greek church brotherhood with the school was founded. Then, the monks from the Holy Athos established on the church’s territory the St. Catherine Greek Orthodox monastery, subordinated directly to the Mount of Sinai.

At the beginning of the 20th century a five-storey house-building in the style of Modernism (1912) and belfry (1914), which replaced the previous two-story one of 1837, were constructed under the project of V. Eysner on the territory of the monastery.

In1928 the monastery was closed and transferred to the disposal of the communal services, which led to the loss of some constructions. In1929, under the pretext that there were cracks in the vault of St. Catherine’s church, the temple was destroyed, and the next year the upper tiers of the belfry were disassembled.

In 1906 the original appearance of the belfry was restored. In the former monastery buildings there is the Office of the National Bank of Ukraine for Kyiv and the Kyiv region.