14 oldest Orthodox churches in Russia and of the world

Review of the best according to the editors. About the selection criteria. The the material is subjective, is not advertising and is not serves as a guide to the purchase. Before purchase is needed consultation with a specialist.

Guardians of national culture, dumb witnesses of the past, rare examples of architecture – all these are the oldest Orthodox churches. Russian religious buildings have experienced a lot in their lifetime – conquerors raids, wars, fires, etc. World memos Orthodox architecture – a symbol of memory – unique and ancient. Further – about the oldest and most unusual Orthodox churches.

The oldest Orthodox churches in Russia and the world: top 14 ancient religious buildings

Nomination a place name Established
The oldest Orthodox churches in Russia 1 Church of St. John the Baptist, Kerch 9th CENTURY
2 Saint Sophia Cathedral, Veliky Novgorod 10 CENTURY
3 TEMPLE IN THE NIZHNY ARKHYZ CITY, Karachay-Cherkessia 10 CENTURY
4 Peter and Paul Church, Smolensk 11th CENTURY
5 Assumption Cathedral, Vladimir 12 CENTURY
6 Spassky Cathedral, Kostomarovo 12 CENTURY
7 ESKI-KERMEN, CRIMEA 12 CENTURY
8 Church of the Deposition of the Cyril 15 CENTURY
ANCIENT ORTHODOX CHURCHES OF THE WORLD 1 Garre Church, Iran 1 CENTURY
2 “Brownie” церковь, Сирия 3 CENTURY
3 Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Israel 5 CENTURY
4 Hagia Sophia, Turkey 6 CENTURY
5 St. Mary’s Church (Hanging Church), Egypt 7 CENTURY
6 Caracal Monastery, Greece 11th century

The oldest Orthodox churches in Russia

Church of St. John the Baptist, Kerch

Rating: 5.0

Church of St. John the Baptist, Kerch

Established: 9th Century

The oldest of the existing churches in Russia, existed even before the formation of Kievan Rus. The temple has a long and a complicated story. It was built by the Byzantines in their time domination in the territory of modern Russia. Exact date the erection of the church is not known for certain: historians are guided Greek inscription on one of the church columns. It talks about the fact that Kiriak, the son of George, the grandson of Windyr, was buried in the church in 752 year.

Researchers believe that during the construction of the temple elements of an older structure were used (tentatively 6th century). Among them are carved marble columns with blue veined, Greek amphoras in the walls (eliminated the echo and amplified sound) and burnt Byzantine brick. Bright red and white masonry, used in the construction of the church – a recognizable element architecture of ancient Byzantium.

The stone blocks alternated with plinths (the “ancestor” of the brick) for creating a strong, reliable design. This is not least contributed to the fact that the construction has survived to this day.

Since the construction of the church remained the foundation, powerful columns and a patio with a famous stone slab, in which he left imprint of his foot Andrew the First-Called. During the Crimean period Khanate Church of St. John the Baptist was used as a mosque (Muslims painted over the entire wall painting). Later construction repeatedly reworked Russian princes, at the Polovtsian temple was empty. During the Soviet Union was closed: here the city lapidary was located – a museum of archaeological antiquities.

Saint Sophia Cathedral, Veliky Novgorod

Rating: 4.9

St. Sophia Cathedral, Veliky Novgorod

Established: 10th Century

The oldest of the stone buildings of the times of Kievan Rus, surviving to this day. Prince Mstislav once said: “Where Hagia Sophia, there is Novgorod. “The famous Sofia Cathedral was laid back in 1045 by Yaroslav the Wise himself and his son Vladimir. Throughout its nearly thousand-year history, the temple remains the most important cathedral church of the Novgorod land.

The incredible beauty of the white stone cathedral was built in record short term – in just 5 years. Today the walls of the temple are white, but so it was not always. Initially, its arches were covered with frescoes, and the walls (both outside and inside) were completely uncovered. But the murals didn’t appear at the construction site immediately: only 50 years after consecration of the temple. From them remained separate fragments on the central the dome.

And here are the images of Saints Constantine and Helena in Martirevskaya the porch is preserved to this day. And not only remarkable this fact, as well as the technique in which the work was done: painting It was carried out not on wet plaster (traditionally), but on dry. Similar examples of creating frescoes no longer exist. In the temple also preserved prayer place for the king, established by order Ivan the Terrible. The chandelier donated to the church by Boris was also preserved. Godunov.

Temple on the Lower Arkhyz fort, Karachay-Cherkessia

Rating: 4.7

Temple on the Lower Arkhyz fort, Karachay-Cherkessia

Established: 10th Century

One of the oldest religious buildings built on territory of modern Russia even before the formation of Russia. Accomplished from stone the North Temple is located near the Lower Arkhyz – the territory where the capital used to be the ancient state of Alanya, whose inhabitants adopted Christianity half a century before the baptism of Russia.

The walls of the structure are made of sandstone, for finishing the roof thin stone slabs with birch bark were used inside. This is a rather unusual architectural technique, not used anywhere in the North Caucasus. Inside The temple was equipped with the only font in Alanya for baptism. The construction was built in honor of St. Nicholas – the patron saint Nicholas Mystic – the then Patriarch of Constantinople.

In the entire history of its existence, the Northern Temple has never rebuilt: its present look is identical to that of 1000 years ago. On the rocks located near the temple, you can still consider the face of Jesus Christ written directly on the stone. IN there are currently no divine services in the North Church. Exception – May 6: Memorial Day for the Most Revered in the Caucasus St. George the Victorious.

Peter and Paul Church, Smolensk

Rating: 4.8

Peter and Paul Church, Smolensk

Established: 11th Century

The Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul is the oldest in the city. The monumental religious building was built in 1146 by the order of the grandson of Vladimir Monomakh – Rostislav Mstislavovich. By the idea of ​​the Peter and Paul Church was to become a modest refuge for the prayers of the princes of Smolensk.

The church was erected using thin clini elements of which were held together by clay. The walls were not covered stucco, which distinguishes the temple from other structures pre-Mongol period. Although historians are inclined to believe that most of the religious sites of that time were exactly such.

In the 16th century, when the Time of Troubles came – Smolensk was captured by the troops of the Commonwealth – the temple was transformed into catholic church. It was here that the residence of the famous Greek Catholic religious leader, Archbishop of Leo Krevza-Rzhevusky. For the convenience of the latter in the 30s of the 17th century Near the temple, two-story chambers were built. After return of the building to the bosom of the Russian church (1654) the temple again began to act like an Orthodox.

During the Napoleonic invasion, the church was sacked, and a raging fire did its job: the building was badly damaged (even the bells melted). After reconstruction, Peter and Paul the temple acquired a radically different look.

Assumption Cathedral, Vladimir

Rating: 4.6

Assumption Cathedral, Vladimir

Established: 12th Century

The construction of the white stone cathedral in Vladimir began about 800 years ago, during the reign of Prince Andrei Bogolyubov. According to to his plan, the temple under construction was to become the most important temple a strong principality – Vladimir-Suzdal Rus and a symbol of unity all Russian lands.

The work was carried out quickly and on a large scale, and the height of the Vladimir temple surpassed even Kiev and Novgorod. The church is not inferior to them in magnificence: the walls of the building are decorated with luxurious frescoes, on the floor – colored mosaic and gilded plates, under the arches – chandeliers from gold and silver.

The cathedral had many trials: it repeatedly burned in fire, but miraculously reborn. The first and the worst the fire occurred in 1238, during the invasion of the city of Batu Khan. In the smoke of fire, the inhabitants who shelled in the temple died, all relics were looted, incredible beauty painting is damaged, but the temple stood in the fire. A century later it was restored. On that period, and this was the beginning of the 15th century, the walls of the temple were painted by Andrew Rublev. Today, the church is one of the few where you can see the work of the famous Russian icon painter.

Spassky Cathedral, Kostomarovo

Rating: 4.5

Spassky Cathedral, Kostomarovo

Established: 12th Century

Many cave temples took refuge in the Voronezh steppes, but Spassky Monastery, built near the village of Kostomarovo – the largest of them and the oldest. The construction was literally hollowed out in the Cretaceous rock – bizarre pillars (“divas”), whose the origin is still unclear.

Construction work was started by local monks in the 12th century and continued with minor interruptions for as much as 200 years. The result of painstaking and complex work was a grandiose cathedral with a capacity of 2000 people. The external decoration of the temple is magnificent domes and mosaic icons, decorated inside the wall frescoes carved directly in the breed.

Near the temple on a hillside are severe asceticism, the cells of hermit monks turned green from dampness. But the most gloomy and mysterious place of the monastery is considered a cave Repentance, a dark corridor leading into a tiny confessional cell. Before the 1917 revolution in the Spassky Cathedral sent the most ardent sinners. Today is the place pilgrimage.

Eski-Kermen, Crimea

Rating: 4.3

Eski-Kermen, Crimea

Established: 12th Century

One of the most unusual structures in the country and the most unusual on Crimean peninsula. The temple is part of the cave city Eski Carmen. It is a modest sized church carved right into limestone rock. Has a miniature area of ​​19 square meters.

A window and 2 small entrances were cut down in a huge boulder. On the only one fresco with an unusual remained intact on the northern wall the plot, which gave the name of the temple. The image shows 3 figures – riders in fluttering cloaks. The central figure is George The conqueror, piercing the dragon with a spear, on the sides of him – the riders with spears. It is likely that these are only images of local heroes: 2 graves were cut down directly in the floor of the structure.

Church of the Deposition of the Cyril

Rating: 4.4

Church of the Deposition of the Cyril

Established: 15th Century

This is the oldest building in the country made of wood. Important clarification – with confirmed dating. The fact is that the church The depositions have a rival – the Church of the Resurrection of Lazarus. Long its time was considered the most ancient (14th century), but there are no documents confirming the age of the structure.

But with the Cyril Church more and more accurately – her age indicated on canvas anti-mins (a piece of fabric with a sewn-in particle of relics saint): the temple was consecrated in 1485. In addition, dendrological study of log cabins used in the construction of the temple: it showed that cut trees was carried out tentatively in the 80s of the 15th century.

The laying of the temple was carried out by Archbishop Joasaph, known in the world as Prince Ivan Obolensky, tonsured a monk after death spouses during childbirth. The church looks very modest, made of 3 log cabins of different heights. In the Soviet years, the temple was lucky to stay in intact: it was recognized as an architectural monument. In order to preserve his structures were transferred to the Kirillo-Belozersky monastery, refurbished before transportation. Today, church services are not held.

The oldest Orthodox churches in the world

Garre Church, Iran

Rating: 5.0

Garre Church, Iran

Established: 1st Century

According to a legend described in sources of 3-5 centuries, Tataus (on the local dialect is the name of the Apostle Thaddeus) was a preacher and died as a martyr in northwestern Iran. It is on his grave and Garre Church was erected in 68. It is the oldest church in the world. Translated from Turkish, “Gare” means “black.” Reason the fact that the construction received a similar name is black stone used in its construction.

The church is beautifully decorated: on its walls flaunts diverse painting, probably on mythological themes. Height the black dome of the structure is 18 meters, the white height is 24 meter. The Mongol-Tatar invasion brought terrible damage to the temple: most of it was destroyed. The building was restored only in the 16th century.

Armenian Christians are convinced that Garre Church is the first religious building in the world, built by the evangelists of Christ. Every year in July, on the anniversary of the death of Tataus, believers spend in church memorial services.

“Brownie” церковь, Сирия

Rating: 4.9

House

Established: 3rd century

Religious building discovered on the ruins of an ancient city Dura Europolis, considered one of the oldest on the planet among “representatives” of Christianity, and the frescoes adorning it are the most An early example of Christian art. This makes it possible experts suggest that early Christian art the tradition was not formed at all in the West, but in the East.

In the ancient city, archaeologists have discovered many temples of different religions and the Christian complex, now known as the “brownie church. “In fact, it is an ordinary Roman house, which was adapted for religious practices. In the center the atrium is located, in the southern part of the house is a room containing 70 people in the northwest – a pool used as Baptistery (a place for baptism). On the walls once flaunted murals depicting Adam and Eve, various gospel scenes (on today they are preserved only to some extent).

Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Israel

Rating: 4.8

Temple of the Holy Sepulcher, Israel

Established: 5th Century

The main Christian shrine, and from the 4th century – the place of the unchanging pilgrimages of Christians around the world. The temple is presented as a whole complex. It was erected on Mount Calvary, where, according to the Scriptures, it was Jesus crucified. The religious building is in the old part Jerusalem and is the headquarters of the Jerusalem Orthodox churches. Throughout its long history, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher survived a lot: a powerful earthquake of 1545 and a terrible fire, raging in 1808.

It is in this temple that the annual rite of convergence takes place Holy Fire: Its broadcast is broadcast worldwide. The liturgy on the sepulcher of the Lord is held alternately by Catholics, Orthodox and Armenians. In order to avoid contention between representatives of various faiths, the keys to the temple are traditionally stored in Judy’s Arab family since 638, and the right to unlock the entrance belongs to another family – Nuseyba. This privilege is transferred from father to son for over 900 years.

Hagia Sophia, Turkey

Rating: 4.7

Hagia Sophia, Turkey

Established: 6th Century

An ancient monumental building annually attracts Thousands of tourists from all over the planet. The cathedral is striking in its splendor architecture, subtlety of mosaic and incredible aura. His the walls are covered with a bizarre mixture of Christian characters and Arabic knit.

A majestic religious site built on a hill where up to 360 year was the sanctuary of the goddess Artemis. For implementation incredible project marble columns were brought from Lebanon and Greece, the altar was decorated with rubies, amethyst. Stunning luxury impressed by the Russian ambassadors, they were convinced of the truth of the Orthodox faith, and persuaded Prince Vladimir to accept Christianity.

After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Sultan Mehmet entered the temple is on a horse and ordered to rebuild it into a mosque. Such he and was as much as 500 years, becoming one of the most important Muslim shrines. In 1935, the founder of modern Turkey transformed it. to the museum.

St. Mary’s Church (Hanging Church), Egypt

Rating: 4.6

St. Mary's Church (Hanging Church), Egypt

Established: 7th Century

Religious building of Egypt, the most famous temple in Cairo Copts. The church received its unofficial name thanks to unusual location: it is located directly above the gatehouse The fortress walls of the old city of the period of the ancient Roman era. For getting into the church will have to overcome an impressive staircase.

The main architectural features of the temple are considered unique, luxuriously inlaid bas-reliefs and pulpit preacher. The marble element is located at 13 pillars, 12 of which are supplemented with images of the disciples of Christ. The hanging church is decorated with numerous murals and valuable, ancient icons.

Caracal Monastery, Greece

Rating: 4.5

Caracal Monastery, Greece

Established: 11th Century

The Holy Monastery is located high above the sea, on Mount Athos, between two other holy monasteries – Iveron and the Great Lavra. The first buildings of the structure appeared in the 2nd century. The Roman emperor Caracalla contributed to this. But since he was a pagan, could not have a relationship with the monastery. More the probable version is the foundation of the monastery by the monk Caracal in 11th century.

But after a couple of centuries, Latin pressure and pirate raids led to the desolation of the monastery. Emperor John V in his time reign revived the cloister, but soon it was empty again due to pirate raids. Final restoration of the structure (its main part) became possible only in the 19th century.

The monastery has many valuable religious objects: part of the Life-giving Cross, particles of the relics of several saints, martyrs, as well as the head of St. Christopher and the Apostle Bartholomew.


Attention! This rating is subjective, not advertising and does not serve as a guide to the purchase. Before the purchase consultation with a specialist is necessary.

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