Vilnius Prechistensky Cathedral (Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Lithuania, Vilnius

Vilnius Prechistensky Cathedral (Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) was built in 1346 by the Grand Duke of Lithuania Algerd for his wife Juliana, Princess of Tver, professing the Orthodox faith. The church was built by Kiev architects in the image of St. Sophia Cathedral of Yaroslav the Wise. In 1348, the church was consecrated by Metropolitan Alexei of Moscow. In 1415, Grand Duke Vytautas appointed Vilnius the center of the new metropolis, uniting Lithuania and Western Russia, and the Vilnius Prechistensky Church acquired the status of the Cathedral. Many historical events are associated with the Cathedral; it has been repeatedly noted in ancient chronicles. In the 18th century, a metal plaque was found in the cellars of the Cathedral, indicating that this is where the burial place of the founders of the church, the Grand Duke and Princess of Lithuania Olgerd and Julian, is located. At the end of the 15th century, the temple solemnly welcomed the royal bride of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Alexander, the daughter of the Grand Duke of Moscow John III, Elena. Subsequently, the princess constantly attended divine services in the Prechistensky Cathedral, under whose arches she was buried in 1513. In 1506, the main dome of the Cathedral fell, after which services in the temple were not held for five years. Restoration work on the initiative and at the expense of Prince Konstantin Ivanovich Ostrozhsky was carried out in 1511. At the end of the XVI century, under the conditions signed by the Brest Union, the Prechistensky Cathedral passes under the control of Uniates. In the XVII - XVIII centuries, due to frequent civil wars, the temple was repeatedly subjected to fires and was severely destroyed. At the beginning of the 19th century, the church was transferred to Vilnius University; the anatomical theater, classrooms, a veterinary clinic, and a library were located in the temple premises. In 1830-1831, after the university was closed, the Cathedral passed under the control of the city government, the church building was in poor condition, a forge was located in the altar, and local street children and beggars found shelter in the walls of the church. Work on the reconstruction of the Cathedral in order to resume church services was begun in 1864 at the initiative of Metropolitan Joseph of Vilna and Lithuania Joseph Semashko. In 1867, Emperor Alexander II allocated 57,000 rubles for the reconstruction of the Vilnius Prechistensky Cathedral. The restoration of the temple was led by famous architects - academicians Ryazanov and Chagin. Particular attention during the restoration of the building was given to the preservation of ancient fragments of the church, while the facade was given forms that mimic medieval Georgian architecture. On October 22, 1868, the Cathedral was consecrated in the name of the Assumption of the Mother of God, and restoration work was fully completed only in 1880. In the interior of the temple, a rich five-tier iconostasis with 73 icons painted by the artist Ivan Trutnev attracts attention. At the left column of the temple there is a kiot in honor of St. John of Kronstadt, near the right column there is a kiot with an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Pochaev, donated to the church by Alexander II, and behind the column there is a miraculous icon of the Mother of God of Iverskaya. In 1997, the Cathedral received an icon from the Kazan Mother of God as a gift from His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II. The last restoration of the temple was completed in 1998, during which the walls and dome were updated, the iconostasis was restored, and the stone floor was replaced by a stone mosaic. In some places of the plastered walls of the temple, areas of ancient masonry have been specially cleared. Today, the Vilnius Prechistensky Cathedral is run by the Russian Orthodox Church, a Sunday school operates at the church, concerts, exhibitions, presentations are organized. The international festival of Russian sacred music, which has been held in the Cathedral since the late 90s of the XX century, has already become traditional.

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