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Church of the Tithes

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Desjatynna westerfeld

The ruined Church of the Tithes in the 1650s, drawn by Abraham van Westerveld.

The Church of the Tithes or Church of the Dormition of the Virgin (Ukrainian: Десятинна Церква, Desiatynna Tserkva; Russian: Десятинная Церковь, Desyatinnaya Tserkov') was the first stone church in Kiev. It was built by the order of Grand Prince Vladimir (Volodymyr) the Great between 989 and 996 by Byzantine and local workers to commemorate the Baptism of Kievan Rus' and was originally named the "Church of Our Lady", in honor of the Dormition of the Theotokos. Vladimir set aside a tithe of his income to finance the church construction, which gave the church its popular name.

History

By Vladimir's order, the remains of his grandmother Princess Olga, the first Christian ruler of Rus', were reburied in this church. Vladimir and his wife, Princess Anna, the sister of Byzantine Emperor Basil II, were also buried in the Church of the Tithes.

The church was used by Kievans as the last refuge while the city was being ravaged by the hordes of Batu Khan in 1240, when it finally collapsed from fire. Chernihiv's Saviour Cathedral (1036) is an extant structure supposed to reproduce the dimensions and exterior appearance of the original Church of the Tithes.

Desjatynna XIX

The 19th century Church of the Tithes.

In the 1630s the wooden church of St. Nicholas was erected on the site by initiative of Kiev metropolitan Peter Mogila (Mohyla). Between 1828 and 1842, by the order of the Russian administration, a new stone Church of the Tithes was built to a design by Vasily Stasov, completely different from its original style. In 1935 the church was destroyed by the Soviet authorities.

Reconstruction

A controversial plan to rebuild the church is currently under active consideration in Kiev. Proponents of reconstruction point out the historical and political importance of rebuilding a church of unchallenged significance in the history of all East Slavic people. Opponents refer to the lack of any documentary descriptions or depictions of the original church, and that excavations were unable to determine even the layout of its foundation. Besides, the monumental building of the new church is likely to be in disharmony with the delicate 18th-century St. Andrew's Church, one of the most famous landmarks of Kiev, located adjacent to the original location of the destroyed Church of the Tithes. Its reconstruction would also require the destruction of the city's oldest tree, a 370-year old linden.

Links

Template:Religion of Kiev

Coordinates: 50°27′28″N 30°31′03″E / 50.4577777878°N 30.51750001°E / 50.4577777878; 30.51750001ru:Десятинная церковь uk:Десятинна церква

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