Saint George's Cathedral, Lviv, Ukraine
On the so-called St. George's hill, afar from the Lviv's city center, located the main shrine of Ukrainian Greek Catholics - Saint George’s Cathedral (Собор Святого Юра). Because of its location, the cathedral has repeatedly served as a fortress during the sieges of the city, and several times was burned or destroyed when the city fell under the control of enemy. The current cathedral was built from 1744 to 1770 by design of architect Bernard Meretin, who unfortunately died before the completion of the cathedral. After the death of Meretin construction was led by architect Sebastian Fessinger.
Next to the Cathedral is located the Metropolitan Palace- the residence of the Metropolitans of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, and to the north of it - the bell tower, which was built later, in 1865. The oldest Ukrainian bell, made in 1341, is hanging in this bell-tower. The complex also includes the garden of St. George. The whole architectural complex is encircled by walls. Gate into the courtyard of the complex is decorated with allegoric figures that symbolize Faith and Hope, the Roman and Greek churches.
The Cathedral is designed by the model of Greek cross, with four chapels in the corners and a round dome in the center with a wide drum. The facade of the building is decorated with sculptures of great architect and sculpture Johann Pinzel, depicting St. Athanasius and St. Leo, thanks to whom the cathedral was constructed. On the attic of the façade is situated the sculpture "St. George the Dragon-Slayer". A two-wing stone staircase leading to the entrance of the building is decorated with sculptures. The interior has been decorated by artists of different styles, and as a result, it combines the elements of Baroque, Rococo, Classicism and other architectural styles. The interior is richly decorated with sculptures, vases, lanterns, icons. Among numerous icons, the most valuable one is the Wonder-working Icon of the Virgin Mary (17th century). According to the legend, this icon is crying every time when the city is in danger. In the tombs under the cathedral are buried famous historical and religious leaders.
The Saint George’s Cathedral is considered as pearl of Rococo style, which appeared in the 18th century as a development of the Baroque style. In 1998 the cathedral and adjacent buildings were included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
By Anna Pambukhchyan, www.building.am