Open main menu

The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (Bulgarian: Храм-паметник "Свети Александър Невски", Hram-pametnik "Sveti Aleksandar Nevski") is a Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Built in Neo-Byzantine style, it serves as the cathedral church of the Patriarch of Bulgaria and it is one of the largest Christian church buildings, as well as one of Sofia's symbols and primary tourist attractions.[3] The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia occupies an area of 3,170 square metres (34,100 sq ft) and can hold 5,000 people inside.[3][1] It is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox Cathedrals and church buildings in the world, third-largest Orthodox Cathedral located in Southeast Europe, being surpassed only by two new and not yet fully completed Cathedrals - the Romanian People's Salvation Cathedral in Bucharest and the Church of Saint Sava in Belgrade.[4] From 1931 until 1992 it was the largest finished Orthodox Church in the world, and until year 2000 was the largest finished Orthodox Cathedral.

The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Храм-паметник
"Свети Александър Невски"
AlexanderNevskyCathedral-Sofia-6.jpg
Religion
AffiliationBulgarian Orthodox
ProvinceSofia
LeadershipNeophyte of Bulgaria
Location
StateBulgaria
Geographic coordinates42°41′45″N 23°19′59″E / 42.695833°N 23.332956°E / 42.695833; 23.332956Coordinates: 42°41′45″N 23°19′59″E / 42.695833°N 23.332956°E / 42.695833; 23.332956
Architecture
Architect(s)Alexander Pomerantsev
Architectural styleNeo-Byzantine
Completed1882-1912
Specifications
Capacity5000 (worshipers)[1]
86,0003 (volume)[1]
Length73.5 m [1]
Width52.2 m [1]
Interior area3,170 m2 [1]
Height (max)53.0 m (top cross bell tower)[1]
Dome height (outer)46.3 m (top dom) [1]
Dome dia. (outer)22 m
Dome dia. (inner)18 m [2]

Contents

ArchitectureEdit

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a cross-domed basilica featuring an emphasized central dome. The cathedral's gold-plated dome is 45 m high (148 ft) (46.3 m (152 ft) with the cross), with the bell tower reaching 53 metres (174 ft).[3] The roof span of the central nave is 28 metres (92 ft)[5] The temple has 12 bells with total weight of 23 tons, the heaviest weighing 12 tons and the lightest 10 kilograms (22 lb).[3] The interior is decorated with Italian marble in various colours, Brazilian onyx, alabaster, and other luxurious materials. The central dome has the Lord's Prayer inscribed around it, with thin gold letters.[3]

Design and constructionEdit

 
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and National Gallery for Foreign Art behind.

The construction of the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral started in 1882 (having been planned since 19 February 1879), when the foundation stone was laid, but most of it was built between 1904 and 1912.[3] Saint Alexander Nevsky was a Russian prince. The cathedral was created in honour to the Russian soldiers who died during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, as a result of which Bulgaria was liberated from Ottoman rule.

The cathedral was designed by Alexander Pomerantsev, aided by Alexander Smirnov and Alexander Yakovlev, as the initial 1884-1885 project of Ivan Bogomolov was radically changed by Pomerantsev. The final design was finished in 1898, and the construction and decoration were done by a team of Bulgarian, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and other European artists, architects and workers, including the aforementioned architects, as well as Petko Momchilov, Yordan Milanov, Haralampi Tachev, Ivan Mrkvička, Vasily Bolotnov, Nikolay Bruni, Alexander Kiselyov, Anton Mitov and many others.

 
Interior

The marble parts and the lighting fixtures were created in Munich, the metal elements for the gates in Berlin, while the gates themselves were manufactured in Karl Bamberg's factory in Vienna, and the mosaics were shipped from Venice.

Name changesEdit

The name of the cathedral was briefly changed[3] to the Sts. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral between 1916 and 1920 (since Bulgaria and Russia belonged to opposing alliances in World War I), but then the initial name was restored. The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was consecrated on 12 September 1924 and in 1955 was declared a cultural monument.

RelicsEdit

To the left of the altar is a case displaying relics of Alexander Nevsky, given by the Russian Orthodox Church. Although the accompanying Bulgarian-language plaque refers simply to "relics" (мощи), the item on display appears to be a piece of a rib.

Museum and marketEdit

 
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, with the parliament behind.

There is a museum of Bulgarian icons inside the cathedral crypt, part of the National Art Gallery. The church claims that the museum contains the largest collection of Orthodox icons in Europe.

Nearby locationsEdit

The cathedral is adjacent to St. Sofia Church, the church for which the city of Sofia is named. Other notable landmarks in the immediate vicinity of the cathedral are the Monument to the Unknown Soldier, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the National Gallery of Foreign Art, the National Art Academy, the Bulgarian Parliament, a park honoring Ivan Vazov with his monument and gravestone, the Sofia Opera and Ballet, and a park where one can buy handmade textiles, icons, and antiques in a small flea market.

GalleryEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h СОФИЯ-ОБИКОЛКА НА ГРАДА (1968)
  2. ^ Patriarchal cathedral stauropigial memorial church St. Alexander Nevsky
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Sofia, Bulgaria", Mihail Dyuzev, Hitotoki.org, 2010, web: Hito-4 Archived 30 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "Archived item". Archived from the original on 24 November 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  5. ^ 15 Century Bulgaria Foundation (15 века БЪЛГАРИЯ) website, article with title Patriarchal cathedral stauropigial memorial church St. Alexander Nevsky (pdf in English)

External linksEdit