HistoryTHE CHRONICLE OF ST. CYRIL’S MONASTERY
HistoryTHE CHRONICLE OF ST. CYRIL’S MONASTERY
THE CHRONICLE OF ST. CYRIL’S MONASTERY
Kyiv Cyril’s Church was founded in the 12th century on the far outskirts of the city in the picturesque, mysterious Dorogozhychi stow. During the civil war, Dorogozhychi played an important role in the historical development of Kyiv. It was here that the fate of many princes, who claimed the throne of Kyiv, and sometimes – the city itself, was decided. It was from here that numerous invaders attacked Kyiv, with whom the Kyivan princes fought bloody battles. This strategic importance of Dorogozhychi became one of the reasons for founding a monumental church-fortress here.
|In 1139, Prince Vsevolod Olhovych of Chernihiv approached this important strategic point on the northwestern outskirts of Kyiv, [1084 (?) —1146], and took possession of the area, immediately gaining a convenient foothold on the outskirts of the capital.
In 1140–1146, Vsevolod Olhovych built the Church of St. Cyril in Dorogozhychi. The construction of the church-fortress is a logical step of Vsevolod, a prince-warrior and strategist, to strengthen the surroundings of the coveted for many “capital city”.
St. Cyril’s Monastery is an example of the unique functional combination: it is a sacred center, an ancestral palace temple and at the same time a monumental church-fortress. It is named after St. Cyril of Alexandria, who was the Christian patron of the founder of the church – Prince Vsevolod Olgovych. The first mention of Vsevolod’s (Cyril’s) monastery dates back to 1167. St. Cyril’s Church was built as a family tomb of the Olhovychi, as evidenced by the burial niches in the narthex of the building.
The first post-Mongolian information about St. Cyril’s Monastery dates back to 1539. These documents relate to its land holdings and give grounds to conclude that St. Cyril’s Monastery not only existed but also functioned until the 17th century as an orderly monastery. At the beginning of the 17th century Prince Konstantyn-Vasyl Ostrozky became the patron of St. Cyril’s Monastery, who entrusted the restoration of the church and the management of it and the monastery to his favorite – Hegumen Vasyly Krasovsky-Chornobrivets, for which he transferred him there from the Ostroh Monastery of the Holy Cross.
The most important work of Hegumen was the restoration of a large monastery church, which after the invasion of Khan Batu was left without a roof and gradually collapsed. After the death of Vasyly Krasovsky, the hegumens in Cyril’s Monastery were prominent figures of the Orthodox Church: Cyprian Zherebylo-Lobunsky (1614–1626), Sophroniy Zherebylo-Lobunsky (1626–1648), Innokentiy Gisel (1650–1652), Lazar Baranovych (1652), Meletiy Dzik (1658–1677). The Cyryl’s Monastery flourished during the time of Hegumen Inokentiy Monastyrsky, during which the monastery ranked second in economic terms after the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. The glorious hegumen’s tradition was continued by his successors, in particular Dymytriy Rostovsky (Tuptalo), a famous Orthodox writer, author of “Lives of Saints”. Despite the short-lived (only from January to June 1697) hegumenship of St. Dymytriy in Cyryl’s Monastery, his name remained memorable and sacred in the history of this monastery.
At the turn of the 17th – 18th centuries in the buildings of the monastery and in the cathedral the repair and restoration works were carried out, as a result of which the church acquired the architectural features inherent in the Ukrainian Baroque.
In 1786, by decree of Empress Catherine II, the Kyiv-Cyril’s Monastery was closed as an orderly monastery, and all the buildings located on the territory of the monastery, with the church of St. Trinity, in whose name in the 17th century the Church of St. Cyril was re-consecrated, passed into the possession of the Kyiv “Order of Public Charity” for the arrangement of charitable and God-pleasing institutions. Later, a city hospital was organized on the territory of the monastery, and St. Cyril’s Church was turned into a hospital church.
Subsequent minor repairs did not change the appearance of the Church of St. Cyril. Instead, in the interior of the church in 1860, under the late layers of plaster and paints, unique frescoes of the 12th century were discovered, which were first unclosed and copied at the end of the 19th century.
In the postwar years, significant architectural and archaeological research and restoration of wall paintings were conducted in the museum. In total, about $ 10 million was spent on the restoration of the complex. For many years, specialists have been carrying out repair and restoration work, maintaining the proper condition of the building structure. In the 1990s, the roof was covered with copper plates, the attic was insulated; and in 2006, the long-awaited waterproofing was installed around the monument, and the walls were drained of excess moisture. The outer surface of the walls is regularly plastered and whitewashed. A large amount of interior restoration work has been done: the discovery and conservation of the 12th-century frescoes, the fixing of layers of plaster and paint, the cleaning of paintings from dirt, and more.
The hydrogeological and geodetic state of Cyryl’s Hill is studied. Observations of the temperature-humidity regime of the building are carried out, its influence on the state of painting is studied. The necessary microclimatic conditions are maintained in the church premises. In the 1960s different layers of the floor were removed to reduce it to the authentic level of the 12th century; under the floor, archaeologists have discovered and carefully examined more than 20 burials.
Since 1995, remaining a state museum, the Church of St. Cyril has become a monument of joint use – a museum-church.