Cathedral of Saint Demetrius

The Cathedral of Saint Demetrius (Russian Дмитриевский собор) is a cathedral in the ancient Russian city of Vladimir. It was finished in 1197 during the reign of the Grand Prince Vsevolod the Big Nest of Vladimir-Suzdal to the honour of Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki. Being an important component of the White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal, the cathedral belongs to the World Heritage of UNESCO. Currently, the cathedral is a part of the Vladimir-Suzdal open-air museum.

Saint Dmitry Cathedral in Vladimir
Cathedral of Saint Demetrius


The Cathedral of St. Dmitrii in Vladimir, Russia was built by Vsevolod III in 1193-7. It was one of several large churches he had built which also include the much larger Cathedral of Dormition, 1158-60, also in Vladimir, Russia. The cathedral was dedicated to St. Dmitrii of Salonika (St. Demetrios of Thesseloinka in Greek). The Cathedral of St. Dmitrii was originally connected directly with Vsevolod’s palace and was for his personal use. The palace no longer exists and the church has been renovated many times since it was first built but it has kept is predominant features and iconographic program. The most extensive renovation was in 1832 when the some attached structures which used to connect it to the palace were removed. At that time, some of the exterior blocks were moved and some replaced with newly carved blocks.[1]


The cathedral is masonry and made from local white limestone blocks. It is cubic in form similar to many earlier churches in Bogolyubovo especially the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl (1165).[2] It has four columns on the interior which supports drum and cupola. The exterior walls are separated into three bays each with the one in the middle larger than the others. Each bay contains a zakomara at the top. They are also separated at mid-level by a horizontal arcade frieze. One side of the cathedral contains an apse which is also separated into three parts. The windows and doors are deeply recessed with extensive carved ornamentation.


Cathedral of Saint Demetrius. Vladimir. Russia. Дмитриевский Собор. Владимир. Россия - panoramio (3)
King David surrounded by angels and chimeras. Cathedral of Saint Demetrius. Vladimir. Russia. Дмитриевский Собор. Владимир. Россия - panoramio (3)

The most striking feature of the cathedral are the extensive shallow relief carvings which cover the upper half of the exterior walls above the arcade frieze and the drum below the cupola. The source of the artisans and provenance for these carvings seems to be an amalgam of many influences. The most likely are earlier Bogoluiubovo churches, Balkan churches and Armenian churches.[3] Vladimir, at end of the 12th century, was a cosmopolitan and artistic center. Architects and artisans from both the east and west resided there are were used in the construction of the church. In addition, Vsevolod’s mother was a Byzantine princess and Vsevolod lived in Constantinople for several years during his childhood. Another source of inspiration may also have been portable carvings such as Byzantine ivories.[4]

The carvings consist of animals and plants as well as figures in rows and scenes in the zakomary. Some carvings are also ornamental patterns. The patterns, plants and animals (both real and imaginary) might be based pagan beliefs and traditions[5], traditional Russia folklore[6] or Christian theological themes[7]. These types of carvings make of the majority of the decoration on the cathedral. In each zakomara, there is a figural scene. The most prominent, on the west façade in the central bay, is a scene featuring King David surrounded by angels and chimeras. King David is also featured on the south façade central bay surrounded by warrior saints. Other prominent figures, in addition to Christ and Mary, include Solomon, Alexander the Great, Hercules, warrior saints and churchmen. The final piece of this theme being the zakomara of the north façade left showing the donor, Vsevolod with his sons. In a time when power and territory were taken and held by military might, the building of churches and palaces which support the prince’s authority are important. This cathedral, not unlike the Cathedral of Dormition by its size and grandeur, by its iconographic program reinforces the prince’s authority by linking it to ancient kings and philosophers, biblical figures and military leaders.[8]


While a few carvings are still intact inside the cathedral, the most important original feature of the interior are a few frescoes above and around the west entrance that have survived since the late 12th century. The quality of the work varies. The best work in the faces of saints and angels in the Last Judgement scene are likely the work of Byzantine masters with their Russian pupils completing less important parts such as drapery and background. The lines and shading of the better parts is comparable to the best work in Greece and Byzantium. The icon of the Virgin of Vladimir was also known to be in the nearby Cathedral of Dormition at the time the frescoes were painted so was likely a source of inspiration and training.[9]


  • Brumfield, W. (1993). A history of Russian architecture. Cambridge ; New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.
  • Brumfield, W. (1997). Landmarks of Russian architecture : A photographic survey (Documenting the image ; v. 5). Australia: Gordon and Breach.
  • Hamilton, George Heard. The art and architecture of Russia. Penguin Books, 1983.
  • Hare, Richard. The art and artists of Russia. New York Graphic Society, 1966.
  • Kornilovich, K. (1967). Arts of Russia : From the origins to the end of the 16th century. Cleveland: World Pub


  1. ^ Brumfield, W. (1993). A history of Russian architecture. Cambridge ; New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press, Page 53
  2. ^ Hamilton, George Heard. The art and architecture of Russia. Penguin Books, 1983, page 62.
  3. ^ Brumfield, W. (1993). A history of Russian architecture. Cambridge ; New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press, Page 52
  4. ^ Brumfield, W. (1993). A history of Russian architecture. Cambridge ; New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press, Page 55-6
  5. ^ Kornilovich, K. (1967). Arts of Russia : From the origins to the end of the 16th century. Cleveland: World Pub, page 54
  6. ^ Brumfield, W. (1993). A history of Russian architecture. Cambridge ; New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press, Page 53
  7. ^ Hamilton, George Heard. The art and architecture of Russia. Penguin Books, 1983, page 77.
  8. ^ Brumfield, W. (1993). A history of Russian architecture. Cambridge ; New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press, Page 53
  9. ^ Hare, Richard. The art and artists of Russia. New York Graphic Society, 1966, page 27.

External links

Media related to Saint Demetrius Church (Vladimir) at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 56°07′45″N 40°24′39″E / 56.12917°N 40.41083°E

Cathedral of Saint Demetrius, Craiova

The Cathedral of Saint Demetrius (Romanian: Catedrala Sfântului Dumitru) is a Romanian Orthodox cathedral, see of the Metropolis of Oltenia. It is located at 14 Matei Basarab Street, Craiova, Romania, in the historic region of Oltenia. There was likely a church on the site by the 1490s, renovated in 1651 and, having fallen into disrepair, demolished in 1889. That year, work on a new church began, and this was completed and sanctified in 1933. The earlier church's close proximity to the headquarters of the Ban of Craiova gave it importance in the city's political life, as well as a defensive purpose, while the modern building's role ensures its continued significance.

Eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi

The Eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi (Italian: Eparchia di Piana degli Albanesi; Albanian: Eparhia e Horës së Arbëreshëvet) is an eparchy (Eastern Catholic diocese) of the Italo-Albanian Catholic Church sui iuris (Byzantine Rite in Albanian language and Greek language) covering the Italian island of Sicily, where it has 15 parishes. Its cathedral episcopal see is the Cattedrale di S. Demetrio Megalomartire dedicated to the marty Deemetrio, in Piana degli Albanesi, province of Palermo.

It also has a Marian Co-Cathedral, which is a World Heritage Site: Concatedral Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio Concatedral Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio, in Palermo.

Fedor Solntsev

Fedor Grigoryevich Solntsev (Russian: Фёдор Григорьевич Солнцев) (14 April 1801 – 3 March 1892) was a Russian painter and historian of art. His artwork was a major contribution in recording and preserving medieval Russian culture, which was a common subject of his paintings. He was the main author of the fundamental work Antiquities of the Russian State, the main decorator of interiors of the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow. He discovered and restored mosaics and frescoes of Saint Sophia's Cathedral and Cathedral of the Dormition of Kiev Pechersk Lavra in Kiev, and of Cathedral of Saint Demetrius in Vladimir.Fedor Solntsev, together with Metropolitan Philaret and Archimandrite Photius Spassky are considered the founders of modern Russian icon painting canon synthesizing ancient Russian traditions, post-Petrine efforts and modern art discoveries.

List of Russian Orthodox churches

This is a list of Russian Orthodox churches that are individually notable. This includes churches of the semi-autonomous Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and churches in Russia and elsewhere not within ROCOR's system.

List of buildings of pre-Mongol Rus

This is a complete list of the currently existing buildings created in the Kievan Rus before the Mongol invasions of the 1230s. The vast majority of these buildings are churches. Only three secular buildings survived from the period.

Most of the churches were completely rebuilt over the years and lost some of essential features of the Old Rus architecture. Some were destroyed in the 20th century and then replicas were built years later. These churches are included in the list. Churches which were destroyed and subsequently rebuilt without any attempts of scientific reconstruction (the Assumption Church of Virgin Pirogoshcha and the Saint Michael Cathedral of St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery, both in Kiev) are not included.

The list is organized geographically, roughly corresponding to the main principalities of the Kievan Rus. Inside these divisions, the entries are sorted by the date of the first creation.

List of cathedrals in Romania

This is the list of cathedrals in Romania sorted by denomination.

List of museums in Russia

This is a list of museums in Russia. It includes details of museums within Crimea as Russia annexed the territory in 2014 and now administers it as two federal subjects, though Ukraine regards Crimea as an occupied territory which continues to be an integral part of that country.

Metropolis of Oltenia

The Metropolis of Oltenia (Romanian: Mitropolia Olteniei) is a metropolis of the Romanian Orthodox Church. Its see is the Archdiocese of Craiova; its suffragan dioceses are the Archdiocese of Râmnic and the dioceses of Severin and Strehaia and Slatina and Romanați. The headquarters is the Cathedral of Saint Demetrius in Craiova. Covering the historic region of Oltenia, it is the successor of the Metropolis of Severin, attested as of 1370 and located at Severin. After a short period, this entity was moved to Râmnic as the Diocese of Râmnic-Nou Severin. The modern metropolis was established in November 1939 and dissolved in April 1945, shortly after the imposition of a Romanian Communist Party-dominated government. In mid-1947, the Archdiocese of Craiova, covering western Oltenia, was created. In 1949, the archdiocese was elevated to the rank of metropolis.

Onion dome

An onion dome (Russian: луковичная глава, lúkovichnaya glavá; compare Russian: лук, luk, "onion") is a dome whose shape resembles an onion and is usually associated with Russian architectual style. Such domes are often larger in diameter than the tholobate upon which they sit, and their height usually exceeds their width. These bulbous structures taper smoothly to a point.

It is a typical feature of East Slavic churches, especially the onion curved domes in Russia. It is also the predominant form for church domes in Ukraine (mostly on Eastern Orthodox churches), and is common in Belarus. Occasionally there are similar buildings in European countries like in Germany in Bavaria, (German: Zwiebelturm (literally "onion tower") in Austria, the Czech Republic, northeastern Italy, in other Eastern European countries and in Oriental regions like Mughal India, the Middle East and Central Asia. However, usually the old buildings outside of Russia do not have the distinctive typical construction of the Russian Onion design. Probably the origin lies in the native architectural style of early Rus' tribes.

Other types of Eastern Orthodox cupolas include helmet domes (for example, those of the Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir), Ukrainian pear domes (Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev), and Baroque bud domes (St. Andrew's Church in Kiev) or a onion-helmet mixture like the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod.

Piana degli Albanesi Cathedral

Piana degli Albanesi Cathedral, in full the Cathedral of Saint Demetrius the Martyr of Thessaloniki (Italian: Cattedrale di Piana degli Albanesi, Cattedrale di San Demetrio Megalomartire di Tessalonica, Albanian: Kryeklisha e Shën Mitrit të Madhit Dëshmor) is a cathedral in Piana degli Albanesi, Sicily, Italy. It is the seat of the Eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi, part of the Byzantine Rite Italo-Albanian Catholic Church.

Russian architecture

Russian architecture follows a tradition whose roots were in war Kievan Rus'. After the fall of Kiev, Russian architectural history continued in the principalities of Vladimir-Suzdal, Novgorod, the succeeding states of the Tsardom of Russia, the including architecture). The great churches of Kievan Rus', built after the adoption of Christianity in 988, were the first examples of monumental architecture in the East Slavic region. The architectural style of the Kievan state, which quickly established itself, was strongly influenced by Byzantine architecture. Early Eastern Orthodox churches were mainly built from wood, with their simplest form known as a cell church. Major cathedrals often featured many small domes, which has led some art historians to infer how the pagan Slavic temples may have appeared.

Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod (1044–52), on the other hand, expressed a new style which exerted a strong influence on Russian church architecture. Its austere thick walls, small, narrow windows, and helmeted cupolas have much in common with the Romanesque architecture of Western Europe. Further departures from the Byzantine model are evident in succeeding Novgorod cathedrals: St Nicholas' (1113), St Anthony's (1117–19), and St George's (1119). The secular architecture of Kievan Rus' has barely survived. Until the 20th century only the Golden Gates of Vladimir, despite much 18th-century restoration, could be regarded as an authentic monument of the pre-Mongol period. During the 1940s, archaeologist Nikolai Voronin discovered the well-preserved remains of Andrei Bogolyubsky's palace in Bogolyubovo (dating from 1158 to 1165).

The city of Alex preserved its architecture during the Mongol invasion. The first churches were commissioned by the princes; however, after the 13th century merchants, guilds and communities began to commission cathedrals. The citizens of 13th-century Novgorod were noted for their shrewdness, diligence and prosperity, expanding from the Baltic to the White Sea. The architecture in Novgorod did not begin to flourish until the turn of the 12th century. The Novgorod Sophia cathedral was modeled after the original Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev; it is similar in appearance but smaller, narrower and (in a development of North Russian architecture) onion-shaped domes replace cupolas. Construction was supervised by workmen from Kiev, who also imported bricks. The primary building materials were fieldstone and undressed limestone blocks. It is said that the interiors were painted in frescoes, which have now vanished. The doors were made of bronze.

The katholikon of Yuriev Monastery was commissioned in 1119 by Prince Vsevolod Mstislavovich. The architect was known as Master Peter, one of the few architects who have been recorded at this time in Russia. The exterior is characterized by narrow windows and double-recessed niches, which proceed in a rhythm across the façade; the interior walls reach a height of 20 metres (66 ft). Its pillars are closely spaced, emphasizing the height of the vaulted ceilings. The interior was covered in frescoes from the prince’s workshops, including some of the rarest Russian paintings of the time.

The Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior was a memorial to Ilya Muromets. During the Mongol invasion, Ilya was reputed to have saved the city; the church was built in his honor on Elijah Street in 1374. During this time the city-state of Novgorod established a separate district for the princes, subdividing the city into a series of streets where the church still stands. The church windows are more detailed, the niches deeper and the dome (seen in larger cathedrals) is augmented by a pitched roof.

Another church closely resembling the Church of the Transfiguration is the Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Kozhevniki. It was constructed in 1406, and the primary difference is in building material. The detail is focused on the west and south facades. New ornamental motifs in the brick appear at this time. Brick was also used for the pilasters which delineate the façade. It was originally plastered, but underwent restoration after it was damaged during World War II. Its apse points towards the river, which provides a welcome sight for ships approaching from the Baltic. The shingled roof resembles the bochka roofs popular at the time. The walls were built from local quarrystone, which contrasted with the red bricks. The ground plan of the church is almost square with four pillars, one apse and one dome.

Vladimir, Russia

Vladimir (Russian: Владимир, IPA: [vlɐˈdʲimʲɪr] (listen)) is a city and the administrative center of Vladimir Oblast, Russia, located on the Klyazma River, 200 kilometers (120 mi) to the east of Moscow. It is served by a railway and the M7 motorway. Its population is 345,373 (2010 Census); 315,954 (2002 Census); 349,702 (1989 Census). Vladimir has a notable significance in Russian history, as it served as the country's capital city in the 12th-13th centuries.

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