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St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral – Sofia

8/30/2007 12:34:10 AM

On August 30 1724, Peter I officially moved the relics of St. Alexander Nevski to Russia’s new capital – Petersburg. On this day in 1924, the St. Alexander Nevski cathedral in Sofia was inaugurated.

It is one of the town’s biggest historical monuments, as well as one of its most distinctive symbols. It is also the biggest memorial-church on the Balkan peninsula. It was built in memory of the Russian king Alexander I, whose troops liberated Bulgaria from the Turkish yoke in 1878. The cathedral occupies an area of 2600 sq.m., it is 70 m in length and 55 m in width.

It represents an impressive five-nave basilica of cruciform domed type. The church itself is round in shape, consisting of three altar apses: central, dedicated to St. Alexander Nevski, southern – to King Boris I the Baptist, and northern – to the wholly brothers Cyrill&Methodius.

The icons and frescoes in the cathedral are the work of distinguished Bulgarian and Russian artists. Most of them are extremely precious and unique exponents, one of which is the Pearl icon of The Holy Virgin and her child, which people believe has miraculous powers. Another precious exponent is the Golgotha stone, which is placed in a box, made of mother-of-pearl bearing the Bulgarian kingdom coat of arms. It was given to the church as a gift by patriarch Cyrill.

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