The Baptistery of Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev


This book is about the baptistery of Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev. The name of the cathedral comes from the sixth-century Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) and means “Holy Wisdom,” rather than dedication to a particular saint. Designed as “the new Constantinople” to represent Eastern Christianity, Saint Sophia in Kiev was first constructed in the 11th century. The baptistery was built into the cloister a few years later and its walls still bear frescoes from the 11th–12th centuries. By the early 20th century, the baptistery was in a state of disrepair and restoration work carried out elsewhere in the cathedral had not yet begun. The crumbling of the walls and exposed surfaces provided scholars with an opportunity to study the construction techniques used in the cathedral. This book examines the baptistery structure and illustrates its dilapidated state at the time. The cathedral, together with the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra monastery, is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Last updated: March 7, 2014