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Sveta Nedelya Cathedral, Sofia, Bulgaria

Sveta Nedelya Cathedral (Bulg. Света Неделя = Holy Sunday ) is Sofia bishopric of the Bulgarian Patriarchate. The cathedral is named in honor of the martyr Saint Kyriaki (Sunday) of Nicomedia. Originally the church has up 35 m length and a 19 m width. After terrorist act in 1925 the church was reconstructed in a little bit smaller version - 30 m x 15.5 m. The highest dome reaches 31 meters.

The accurate time of the first church constructed on this site is unknown. Most likely first one was built in the X century. Initially the church was wooden, standing on the stone foundation. The building stayed wooden till the middle of XIX century. In the XVIII century, when the church became a bishop's residence, the remains of Serbian king Stephen Milutin were transferred and buried there and St. Nedelya for the time being acquired another name, Holy King.

After the fire in April 25, 1856, the former building was demolished to make place for a new cathedral. It was decided to build a large and more imposing stone edifice in its place. During construction, the 1858 earthquake partially destroyed the church. The new stone cathedral construction completed in 1863. Consecration took place on May 11, 1867, in the presence of 20 000 people.

The Cathedral building was partially destroyed In April 16, 1925, during the funeral General Konstantin Georgiev killed two days earlier. Terrorist act organized by Left-Wing Communists (aimed to destroy military and political elite regime of Tsar Boris III) killed 134 people and 500 were wounded.

Since 1933 the Cathedral Sveta Nedelya has acquired its modern look. The iconostasis was painted by great Bulgarian painter Stanislaw Dospevski. The mural decoration was done by a team led by Russian artist Nikolai Rostovtsev in 1971-1973.

In 2002 a special device was installed to ring the eleven bells automatically (the eight bells were gifted from Knyaz Dondukov-Korsakov in 1879, the two made in Serbia and one in Bulgaria). The Cathedral is one of the most beautiful architecture sights in Sofia.

Article and Photos by Lilit Vanesyan,


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