The Church of St. Alexander Nevsky in Mstislavl

The Church of St. Alexander Nevsky in Mstislavl


Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries

The town of Mstislavl is a rather ancient settlement which was mentioned in chronicles in 1156 as a fortress structure in the Western part of Smolensk Principality. Like many other old cities and towns, Mstislavl has also ancient buildings and valuable shrines. One of such shrines is the Church of St. Alexander Nevsky. This Orthodox Cathedral belongs to the architectural monuments in the Russian retrospective style.

Before the construction of the current temple that was erected in 1870, on its place there had been the most ancient town church – the Church of St. Athanasius. After its rebuilding there were several Catholic churches which were rebuilt several times and the last of which was burned in 1858. They tried to modify it making various reconstruction projects. But finally it was dismantled and a new Orthodox Cathedral was erected here. The Church was a solid construction built of brick.   

During the Great Patriotic War German soldiers were buried behind the Church, wooden crosses over the graves tell about it. However, these “identification signs” have not been preserved to our days and, most probably, the remains of these soldiers were not reburied and today are in the ground near the Orthodox Cathedral.

The description of the Church of St. Alexander Nevsky in Mstislavl

The Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky is considered not only on of the highest buildings in the town but one of the most beautiful. It is not only a valuable building for the town in artistic terms, but also a very important historical object. An unusual architectural solution of the building was taken from the composition rapidly developed in the expanse. Features of the Russian retrospective style are clearly observed in elements of the building. Here is clearly defined the volume of the Church, which is represented in the form of a cross-shaped space, crowned with an onion dome. A belfry has the same ending but it is smaller in size.

At the entrance of the temple stands in splendour an interesting gates of brick located near the Northern part of the building.  They are represented in the form of a triple arch, which is completed with a rectangular shield and corbel arches right in the base. The gates themselves are laced, they were cast of iron.  

Nowadays in the Cathedral are kept specially revered shrines. Among them there are two valuable icons: one of them is the icon of Prince Alexander Nevsky, which contains parts of his relics, and the other one is the icon of the Mother of God, consecrated in Moscow at the coronation of Nicholas II.

A visit to the Church of St. Alexander Nevsky in Mstislav is a part of one of the most popular touristic routes which is called “Cultural-historical heritage of Mogilev”. The Cathedral is a striking and interesting object which attracts tourists not only for its history and shrines, but it is also very attractive for its majestic appearance from the architectural point of view.

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