• ”St. Alexander Nevsky” Cathedral

St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Patriarchal Cathedral St. Alexander Nevsky, Sofia, 1882-1912

The foundations of the cathedral “St. Alexander Nevsky” were laid on February 19, 1882, and the building was officially consecrated in 1924. The monumental church’s design was based on a project by Russian architect Alexander Pomerantsev (1848-1918) and was implemented in collaboration with two other Russian architects Alexander Smirnov and Alexander Yakovlev. The church is a five-aisle cross-domed basilica dominated by a main gold-plated dome. Its interior has three parts: a narthex (with two chapels), a central nave, and an altar (with three thrones). The nave has two enclosed side galleries and has a crypt underneath it.

Construction on the cathedral began in 1904 when Alexander Pomerantsev signed the official commission agreement. A large part of the temple’s decoration was carried out by Bulgarian artists, among which were Ivan Markvichka, Stefan Ivanov, Gospodin Zheliazkov, Petko Klisurov, Nikola Petrov, Hristo Berberov, August Rozenthal, Assen Belkovskim, Nikola Marinov, and Vassil Dimov. Under the coordination of Professor Anton Mitov, Bulgarian artists were commissioned with the two side iconostases. Four Russian artists painted the icons on the central iconostasеs – Viktor Vasnetsov, Nikolai Bruni, Vassily Savinsky and Sergey Shelkovoi – while the Bulgarian artists Ivan Markvichka and Anton Mitov worked on the northern and southern ones.

Mosaics in ”St. Alexander Nevsky” Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria. Anton Chalakov/BHF, 2022

”St. Alexander Nevsky” Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria.

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The smalt mosaic St. Alexander Nevsky by Anton Mitov, 1912

The mosaic icon of “St. Alexander Nevsky”, patron saint of the church, is located on the western façade under the bell tower. Delicate stone ornaments frame the icon. The artist used rich expressive colors and imparted a certain “softness” to the figure. True to his style, Anton Mitov thereby accentuated the saint’s humanity. His image appears well-proportioned, colorful, and benevolent. Instead of having a severe and ascetic countenance, he comes across as regal and stately.

Mosaics in the dome above the Tsar’s throne

Mosaics from the narthex and altar

Mosaics in the main entrance and vestibule

Exterior Mosaics above the entrances