Senty Church (Russian: Сентинский храм) is a Christian church built in 965 in the territory of modern Karachay-Cherkessia (Russian Federation). It is situated on the left bank of the Teberda River, near the village of Nizhnyaya Teberda, 18 km south of Karachaevsk. Senty Church is the earliest dated church in Russia.
Precise dating of the church is based on the inscription found on the northern wall of the eastern aisle. The text is as follows:
+ Ἐνεκεν[ίσ]θ(η), ἐνεώσ[θ(η)] ὁ να[ὸς] τ(ῆς)
ὑπεραγίας θ(εοτόκ)ου ἐπὴ βασηλ[είας
Νηκηφώρου, Βασηλ[είου] καὶ [Κωνσταντίνου
κὲ Δα(υὶ)δ ἐξουσηωκράτορ(ος) [Ἀλανίας
κ(αὶ) Μαρίας ἐξουσ[η]ωκράτ[ορίσσης
μ]ην(ὴ) Ἀπρη(λίου) β´, ἡμέρᾳ ἁγ[ή]ου Α[ντιπάσχα (?)
δηὰ χηρὸς Θεοδώρου, μητ[ροπο-
λ(ίτου) καθηγη(ασμένου) Ἀλανί(ας), ἀπ[ὸ] κ[τί-
σε(ως) κό(σμου) ἔτ(ους) ςυογ´. Ἀν[ε-
γράφε[το] δηὰ χειρὸς [τοῦ δεῖνος
+Sanctified, renewed the church
of the Blessed Virgin is in the reign of
Nikephoro, Basil and Constantine
and David, exusiocrator (a special title for ruler of Alania, byzantine exarch) of Alania
and Maria, exusiocratoriss
on 2 April, in the day of the saint Antipascha,
by the hand of Theodorе,
sanctified mitropolite of Alania
in the year 6473 from the creation of the world.
Written by the hand of [name],
In the second half oh the 19th century an orthodox Spassko-Preobrazhenskiy convent was built near the Senty church. The church was much altered at the urging of the nuns, its original form was changed.
In the soviet times the convent was turned into an orphan house. At the present time it is being rebuilt.
Near the church lie the ruins of a mausoleum which is also dates back to the 10th century. Supposedly it was intended to be used as a burial place for higher church officials. This building is unique for North Caucasus.
The church is built from polished sandstone with a use of limestone solution. It has one dome. It is cross-shaped in plan, with an apse from the eastern side.
In the Senty Church there are lots of traces of frescoes. This is the biggest mural complex in Alania.
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- Beletskiy D.V., Vinogradov A.U. Freski Sentinskogo khrama i problemy istorii alanskogo khristianstva v X veke (Frescoes of Senty Church and problems of history of alan christianity in Xth century), «Rossijskaja arkheologija», 2005.
- Vinogradov A.U., Beletskiy D.V., Nizhnij Arkhyz i Senty: drevnejshije khramy Rossii. Problemy khristianskogo iskusstva Alanii i Severo-Zapadnogo Kavkaza (Nizhniy Arkhyz and Senty: the most ancient churches in Russia. Problems of christian art of Alania and north-west Caucasus. Moscow, 2011. 392 p.