Pyatnytska Church (Chernihiv)

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Pyatnytska Church
П'ятницька церква
AX Chernigiv Pyatnitska Church.jpg
Basic information
Location Chernigiv, Ukraine
Affiliation Eastern Orthodox Church
District Ukrainian Orthodox Church
of the Kiev Patriarchate
Architectural description
Architectural type Church
Architectural style Ukrainian Baroque
Completed the end of the 12th century – beginning of the 13th century

Pyatnytska (St. Paraskeva) church (Ukrainian: П'ятницька (святої Параскеви) церква) is a functioning church in Chernigiv, Ukraine.


Pyatnytska church was built at the end of the 12th century – beginning of the 13th century at Chernigiv public sale area. It is a four-pillar, one-dome, square church.

It differed from other Chernigiv churches by completion and decoration of the facades with all types of architectural ornaments and by composition of arches under the drum.

It was restored in 1670 and 1690s by costs of Chernigiv colonel V.Dunyn-Borkovskyi in the Ukrainian baroque style.

In the 17th - 18th centuries there was a nunnery in the church, which was burned out in 1750.

In 1820s a two-storeyed belfry (the architect is A.Kartashevskyi) was built, which was dismantled in 1962.

In 1941 the church was destroyed.

It was restored in 1962 according to the project of Petro Baranovskyi in somewhat changed style similar to Russian churches (in particular the dome).

The fate of this monument is unusual. A small Pyatnytska church stood on the public sale area of Chernigiv (Paraskeva Pyatnytsia has been long since considered as a trade patron saint). High dome, numerous stucco moulding, elegant proportions of the church – all these features undoubtedly gave grounds to attribute the building to Ukrainian baroque style of the 17th - 18th centuries. The only unusual feature was its centric projection composition. Researchers asserted that the forms of an ancient Rus building were hidden under the baroque clothes.

In 1941 a fascist bomb hit the building. The prominent Soviet researcher of ancient Rus architecture P.Baranovskyi arrived at Chernigiv in December 1943. It was me who happened to accompany him and take part in inspections of Chernigiv buildings. The picture which revealed in front of us was terrible: only ruins remained of Pyatnitska church, rising lonely above the covered with snow wasted grounds of the city destroyed by the fascist invaders. The investigation of the monument gave unexpected results. The church did not resemble all the known ancient Rus buildings. Everything attested that this monument was of a new architectural style which was formed in Rus at the end of the 12th century, at the time of «The Word to the Honour of Prince’s Igor Regiment».

It is known that at that time the ancient Rus cities went out on the historical arena. Craftsmanship and trade were rapidly developing there, industrial and trade corporations were organized. That is to say that the social and economic process was taking place, which caused the development of gothic architectural style in Europe .


During 10 years P.Baranovskyi restored Pyatnytska church, carefully putting a brick to a brick. As a result he managed to reproduce with great authenticity all the shapes of the building – one of the most prominent monuments of ancient Rus architecture. The following investigations discovered a lot of other buildings of this architectural style. An elegant Pyatnytska church stands in the centre of the ancient Ukrainian city of Chernigiv behind the city theater, in the middle of a picturesque public garden where Chernigiv sale area was located long ago. The church is small in size (planned dimensions are 16 to 11,5 m), with four octahedral pillars inside, with three apsides and a high dome. It is exceptionally well-proportioned, with an unprecedentedly refined and harmonious composition. Unlike the static forms of previous times buildings, the composition of Pyatnytska church is dynamic, its walls steeply grow upwards with three rows of arches above the main capacity. Verticality of the building is emphasized by the profiled pilasters. Vertical and curvilinear elements which predominate in the composition are balanced by horizontal storeys of the first floor windows, by the passes of decorative niches of different forms and scales, by meander-line frieze which reminds of the architecture of the 11th century, and the reticulated decorative design on apsides. The vertical profiled pilasters on different heights are completed with short but energetic strokes of cornices. Pink color of the walls is combined with the white stuccoed areas of decorative niches and multicoloured decorative ornaments on the portals. Inside the church reminds of a tower. The artistic effect of the fresco painting is emphasized with a multicoloured floor of yellow, green and maroon glazed tiles. In Pyatnytska church everything is built according to the one, so to say, melody, unlike Sofia Kyivska where the composition is developed into an entire symphony. It is a joyful song about the beauty where the engineering genius of an architect is combined with the poetry of national creation. Pyatnytska church in Chernigiv is sometimes called «The Word to the Honour of Prince’s Igor Regiment» in architecture. Indeed, a prominent monument of ancient Rus architecture is not only a contemporary of the brilliant poem, but is also close to «The Word» by the character of its poetics, perfection of the form, the national spirit and high inspiration.


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