Assumption Cathedral In Volodymyr-Volynskyi cover

Assumption Cathedral In Volodymyr-Volynskyi


The Assumption Cathedral in Volodymyr-Volynskyi is one of the oldest existing buildings in the Ukraine and is located near the Polish border. This westernmost cathedral of Kievan Rus is a resurrected monument dating back to the time before the Mongol invasions.

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Assumption Cathedral In Volodymyr-Volynskyi

Ancient Cathedral

The Assumption Cathedral in Volodymyr-Volynskyi is one of the oldest existing buildings in the Ukraine and is located near the Polish border.

This westernmost cathedral of Kievan Rus is a resurrected monument dating back to the time before the Mongol invasions.

Assumption Cathedral In Volodymyr-Volynskyi

Assumption Cathedral In Volodymyr-Volynskyi

Viacheslav Galievskyi

(CC BY-SA 4.0)


Today, Volodymyr-Volynskyi may seem to be a rather unsightly town, but one millennia ago it was an important urban centre - a capital of Volhynia, historical Slavic principality.

This city was founded in the late 10th century and attained the status of capital in 988. It is one of the oldest cities in Kievan Rus.

The decision to build this church was made by the grand grandson of Vladimir Monomakh II - Mstyslav II Izyaslavovych, prince of Volodymyr and later ruler of Kiev. He decided to devote this church to Assumption.

History (cont.)

The church was built in 1156 and in 1160 it was consecrated and became a cathedral to Volhyn eparch after murals were painted inside the church.

The church was home to some very expensive and beautiful icons, books and other valuables. This was an enormous structure for its time. Six rulers of Volodymyr have been buried in the church (including Mstyslav who died in 1170), as well as two bishops and many other noblemen.

The rulers of Volhyn kept it in good order and made it into one of the most important churches in Kiev Rus. Bishops of this eparchy had special rights. A school was opened next to the church.

Predates Mongol Invasions

Predates Mongol Invasions

Viacheslav Galievskyi

(CC BY-SA 4.0)

History (cont.)

In 1240 - 1241 the powerful armies of the Mongols, led by Batu Khan, took the city. The city for most part had perished and the church was abandoned.

Fortunately the Mongols did not destroy it, although many citizens died while protecting it and according to eyewitnesses the church was full with the bodies of the deceased. In 1491 Volhyn once again suffered from Mongol raids.

After this raid the church was fortified and next to it was built a fortified bishop residence.

History (cont.)

After the inclusion of Volhyn with Poland in 1569 it was decided to convert Orthodox churches into Catholic (Uniate) churches. The Poles succeeded after long quarrels and in 1596 the Assumption Cathedral became a Uniate church.

In 1683 the church caught fire and was abandoned. It was rebuilt in 1753 in the Baroque style. Soon after, in 1772 it was abandoned and used as a storage facility. In 1796 it was formally returned to Orthodox clergy but by 1829 the roof and domes had collapsed and the building was in ruins.

Luckily the Cathedral of Assumption did not perish. In 1887 The Brothership of Saint Volodymyr was formed, a public organization whose mission it was to rebuild the church.

Cathedral In 1892

Cathedral In 1892

Before the reconstruction.

History (cont.)

The decision was made to return this medieval church to its original architecture.

Scientific evidence about the medieval church was found in archaeological excavations in 1886. Rebuilding was led by A.Prakhov and G.Kotov and lasted from 1896 to 1900. The architecture of the church is not an exact copy of the original medieval church as it was not an easy task to recreate the architecture of the 12th century.


The rebuilt church is simple, laconic but at the same time it is impressive. Judging by its planning, it was built by the builders from Kiev.

During the rebuilding in the late 19th century builders tried to remove later additions and leave the structures of the original church. Nevertheless much of the original structure, as well as the original murals and other artwork have been lost. It is now not easy to tell what is original (e.g. medieval) and what is not. The weird light-blue color of the church is almost certainly by modern invention.



Interior In The Assumption Cathedral In Volodymyr-Volynskyi/

Petro Vlasenko

(CC BY-SA 3.0)

Description (cont.)

The Cathedral of Assumption is located in the historical centre of Volodymyr-Volynskyi, at the Luga River.

A sacred spring is also located at the river and one could ask whether or not the church was built at an older cult site as is common in many other places. Next to the church stands a bell tower (built in 1900) and house of bishop. The fortified residence of Volynian bishops (1494) is unusual and valuable. Not too far from the church are also ramparts of the medieval city.

Main Characteristics

Coordinates: 50.8430 N 24.3151 E

No: 496 (list of all attractions)

Categories: Churches

Values: Art, Architecture

Rank: 5

Address: Europe, Ukraine, Volyn, in the centrum of Volodymyr-Volynskyi

Alternate names: Cathedral of the Dormition of the Theotokos, Мстиславів храм

Name in Ukrainian: Собор Успіння Пресвятої Богородиці (Володимир-Волинський)

Architectural style: Byzantine, Neo-Byzantine

Year of construction: 1156-1160, 1753, 1896-1900

Branch of Christianity: Orthodox