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Multimedia CD-ROM

Transfiguration of Our Savior Cathedral

Multimedia CD-ROM: Transfiguration of Our Savior Cathedral
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by Yaroslavl State University

English Version

The multimedia CD-ROM, The Savior-Transfiguration Cathedral, contains information about this outstanding monument of Russian culture of the 16th century, which has played a significant role in the development of the Yaroslavl architectural and painting school. The compact disc includes multimedia excursions devoted to church architecture, characteristics of its wall paintings, icons and iconostasis, and also a complete history of its restoration.

The church is presented through more than 100 contemporary and rare old photographs. The compact disc presents unique video clips of areas not accessible to the public today. The content was prepared and edited by researchers of the Yaroslavl Museum -- Preserve of History and Architecture, and compiled by the Faculty of History of Yaroslavl State University.

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Savior Transfiguration Cathedral, Multimedia CD

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Content Description

Details of Icon Painting

The Savior-Transfiguration Cathedral includes descriptions of more than 100 icons. Each icon is accompanied by a concise description about the icon, large color image and comprehensive historical and technical information. Pictured at left is an example of the detailed information you will find for all icons in the CD-ROM.

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Comprehensive Search System Makes Finding Icons Easy

One of the distinctive features offered by The Savior- Transfiguration Cathedral is its flexible icon search system according to specific attributes: name, literary source of the subject, time of creation, artist and patron. The system makes it easy to find icons according to both a specific attribute or a combination of attributes.

Excerpts from the CD-ROM


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History of Transfiguration Cathedral

In 1516, masters were sent from Moscow to begin building the present-day Transfiguration of the Savior Cathedral. It is thought that Italian architects, who designed Moscow Kremlin cathedrals, also took part in the work. The Cathedral is one of the oldest stone churches in Yaroslavl to have survived the centuries.

One hundred years after its construction it became one of the best examples of the early period of Yaroslavl architectural tradition during the first half of the 17th century. The Savior Cathedral replaced the old cathedral built between 1216-1224. The chronicle of 1216 records the building of the original church: "Prince Constantine founded the stone church in Yaroslavl and the Transfiguration Monastery." The Cathedral was consecrated on August 6, 1224 by the Bishop Cyril. The 13th century church was later destroyed in the fire of 1501.

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The present-day cathedral was built on the same grounds during the reign of Prince Vasily III, who purportedly sent masters from Moscow. The archivolt of the portal contains this inscription: "The church was consecrated in the Summer 7024 (1516) during the reign of the Great Prince Vasily and Metropolitan Barlaam and Archimandrite Johan." Today the inscription is in a bad condition.

The Cathedral originally had two altars: the central altar devoted to the Transfiguration of Christ, and the chapel altar in the dyakonnikon devoted to the Intercession of the Virgin.

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The Transfiguration is one of the greatest and most popular religious holidays in Russia. On this day people recollect the mysterious event from Jesus Christ's life -- his supernatural transformation on the mountain Tabor in presence of his three Apostles -- Peter, James and John. Many Russian cathedrals and churches were devoted to the Transfiguration.

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The most ancient cathedral in the archdiocese of Yaroslavl is the Transfiguration of the Savior Cathedral in Pereslavl-Zalessky, and it is also the only existing building of the pre-Mongol period. It is also notable for its history, having been connected with outstanding people and numerous facts from Russian history. Its construction was begun by the founder of Moscow Yuri Dolgoruky in 1152.

A great man of faith in ancient Russia is the venerable Sergius of Radonezh who entered the ministry here in the middle of the 14th century. The people of Pereslavl coronated their Princes in the cathedral. Not only the citizens, but many governors prayed here, including Ivan IV, the so-called Terrible. Peter the Great even took part in public worships there, singing in its choir during the construction of his naval fleet on Pleshcheyevo Lake.

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The Uglich Transfiguration of the Savior Cathedral stands on the bank of the river Volga and occupies the central place in the Kremlin's ensemble of the ancient town. The monument is dated from the 18th century, being erected between 1713-1716 under the order of Peter the Great. The church chronicle notes that its walls were painted in 1810-1811. The painting was done according to western European styles, which was typical for that time, and the main wall painting of the Transfiguration Cathedral is based upon Raphael's painting of the same subject. The sophistication of its wall paintings was so great that the masters were invited to Saint Petersburg to paint the cathedral in Smolensky Monastery.

The Rybinsk Transfiguration of the Savior Cathedral -- a monument to Russia's new age -- bears testimony the modern empire of Nickolai's Russia during the first half of the 19th century. The cathedral was built between 1838-1851 following Classical Art traditions according to the design of the famous Saint Petersburg architect and Art Academy professor, A. I. Melnikov, who took part in the design competition for the construction of such famous cathedrals as the Isaac Cathedral in Saint Petersburg and Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. From the moment its construction was completed up to the present the Transfiguration of the Savior Cathedral in Rybinsk is the largest one in the Yaroslavl archdiocese capable of holding more than three thousand people.

The Yaroslavl Transfiguration of the Savior Cathedral is the main cathedral of the Yaroslavl Spassky Monastery, being closely connected with the local Princes' House from the very beginning, and greatly influenced the political, economical and cultural life of Yaroslavl. The architecture of the cathedral was typical for its time -- the Cathedral's design is powerful, severe and beautiful. The level of concept and execution of architecture and painting, certainly ranks with the level of churches in Moscow. A sepulcher was built from the Yaroslavl Princes appanage in the podklet of the Transfiguration Cathedral, the monastery being a spiritual tutor of Princes. The monastery was involved in many outstanding events of the city and even the country. In 1612, a volunteer militia under the command of Minin and Pozharsky left Yaroslavl to liberate Moscow from a Polish invasion.

The Cathedral library houses ancient masterpieces of Russian literature including The Lay of Igor's Host and the unique 13th century Savior Gospels, and most revered icons -- the 13th century Yaroslavl Orans and the 16th-century Transfiguration and Hodigetria icons. The Great Princes House and later the Royal House were patrons of the Spassky monastery. In the 15th century the Cathedral obtained the miracle-working relics of Yaroslavl Princes Fyodor the Black and his sons David and Constantine. Beginning with the 16th century they are one of the main sanctities of the Yaroslavl archdiocese. The images of Saint Yaroslav Princes can be viewed on icons and wall-paintings of all the cathedrals of Moscow Kremlin. Relics were stored in the Chapel of Christ's Entry into Jerusalem (later the Church of Yaroslavl Miracle-Workers).

In 1919, after the White-Guard Revolt, the Bishop's House, earlier situated within the domain of the Spassky monastery, was moved to another location. Public worship was stopped and the cathedral was taken by the Yaroslavl Department of Restoration Commission. From 1959 on the Cathedral was included in the Yaroslavl-Rostov History, Architecture and Art Museum-Preserve. During this period of time the monument was constantly undergoing restoration.

Reconstruction and Restoration

The first rebuilding of the Transfiguration Cathedral was begun in the 16th century. In the 17th century the north wall was adjoined by the gallery, containing the vestry, the library and the chapel over different periods of time. Most of the rebuilding was done in the first half of the 18th century, when the side domes were destroyed and the pozakomarnoye covering was replaced by the four-sloped roof and the central dome's upper part was rebuilt. During the next three centuries repairs were made to the structure due to damage from numerous fires.

The most serious reconstruction in the Cathedral that greatly changed its appearance took place during the second half of the 19th century. The Cathedral was adjoined by a large porch, done in the Classical style, windows were placed on three walls, the apse was added to the east side of the church, and three doors were made in the walls behind the altar. In 1831, the Church of Yaroslavl Miracle-Workers, also done in the Classical style, was built near the Cathedral.

Major restoration work of the Transfiguration of the Savior Cathedral began in 1919, when ancient arches' holes in the altar were opened and all the 19th century defacing annexes were torn down. While restoring the architectural design of the 16th century cathedral, the restorers even cut the round zakomarniye (in the form of a vault) windows made before the painting of the cathedral was begun. Presently, these wall-painting fragments are stored in the collection of the Yaroslavl History and Architecture Museum-Preserve.

The next serious stage of restoration began in the 1950s. The architects Y. G. Yefremova and Y. M. Karavayeva supervised the restoration of the original wall decoration, pozakomarnoye covering, and the three domes of the Cathedral. In the 1980s all the domes were covered with gold leaf, and during the 1990s the covering was replaced with copper.

System Requirements

  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 95, 98, NT4 (SP3), 2000

  • CPU: Intel Pentium 166 MHz or higher processor

  • Memory: 24 MB RAM (minimum) 32 MB (preferable)

  • CD-ROM: 4X CD-ROM drive or faster

  • Sound: Microsoft compatible 16-bit sound card

  • Graphics: PCI/AGP display adapter with 1MB video memory or better

  • Display: Resolution 800X600 pixels with High Color (65,536 colors) or higher

  • Microsoft Mouse or compatible device

  • Microsoft Windows Media Player v.6.4 or later (If this component is not installed, the setup program will install this software.)

  • Codec Intel Indeo v.5.11 or later (If this component is not installed, the setup program will install this software.)

  • Microsoft DirectX (We recommend version 6.1 or later. If this component is not installed, the setup program will install this software.)

Produced by

2001 Yaroslavl State University
Yaroslavl Regional Center of New Information Technologies

Materials from Collections of

2000 Yaroslavl Art Museum
2000 Yaroslavl History and Architecture Museum-Preserve

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