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Holy Assumption Cathedral

Holy Assumption Cathedral is the heart of Smolensk and its symbol, its “business card”-so to speak. The Cathedral Church is located in the central part of the city on the Cathedral Hill and can be seen from virtually every part of the city. On observation deck on Cathedral Hill you can see the panoramic view of the Smolensk Wall and the northern part of the city. Russian art historian accurately noted “Smolensk without the Assumption Cathedral is as unimaginable as Egypt without the Pyramids or Athens without an Acropolis…” 

The current cathedral was founded on the former site of an old church following the order of Czar Aleksei Mihaelovich in 1677 to  commemorate the heroic defense of the city in 1609-1611 against the army of the Polish King Sigismund. The construction of the Assumption Cathedral lasted in total for 95 years and was finally completed in 1772.
Since 1941 Holy Assumption Cathedral is an active worship cathedral. Here, church services are being performed and it is the head church of the Smolensk Eparchy. The special pride of the cathedral is the 5-layer gold-plated iconostas, completed in 1730-1740 in the tradition of baroque Ukrainian craftsmen under the leadership of Silo Trusitskiy. The religious icons were made by the same artists.
Until the 1930s the Cathedral had the original Smolensk Holy Icon Mother of God “Odigitria”, brought to the city by prince Valadimir Monomah at the end of the 11th century, but in the 20th century the icon has disappeared without a trace. The Cathedral also has several Eastern Orthodox holy relics such as the sandals of the first Saint Mercury Smolensky (13th century) and the shroud “Burial of Jesus Christ”, made in the 1560s by the gold-embroidery artisans of Ivan the Terrible’s aunt.
In the 2008-2009, the Holy Assumption Cathedral was renovated and returned to the original external color scheme as well as the reinstallation of the bells.