St. Nicholas Roman Cathedral – Home to the National House of Organ and Chamber Music

The St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral has always been regarded as the second most important Roman Catholic Cathedral in the city of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. It was during the period of 1899 to 1909 that it was constructed in the Gothic style you see today. However, its origins were from the twelfth century and it was designed in what was known commonly during those times as “the French style” or “Opus Francigenum”. The term ‘Gothic’ made its debut appearance in the reformation era. From then on it flourished in Europe during the medieval period and became formerly associated with the architecture of cathedrals and churches alike. The main characteristics of the Gothic style lies in its pointed arches, flying buttress and ribbed vaults common to most.

In 1898 a competition was held for a cathedral design that would capture Kiev’s culture and characteristics. Architect S.Volovskiy created the original design, noted for its two 60 meter towers. The St. Nicholas Catholic Cathedral design then came under the management and final revision of Emilio Salya and Vladislav Gorodetsky, residential architects in Kiev. This design included the construction of sculptural decorations using artificial stone. Several adjustments had to be made to the original design as Kiev was renowned for its uneven ground and so important, for Salya and Gorodetsky to devote a considerable amount of time to ensure the cathedral would be stable. A. Straus was responsible for the bore-and-stuffed piles to increase stability. It is important to note that all construction work on the St. Nicholas Cathedral was done purely on voluntary donations.

It was only in 1909 that the Roman Catholic Cathedral was consecrated using the name of Saint Nicholas. Just a little later a triple storey house was built to the left of the church in the familiar Gothic style and was to be used by the existing parish clergy. Like most churches at the time the St. Nicholas Cathedral was used during the various battles recorded in Ukrainian history, such as the Soviet period in 1938. Much of this was also due to the fact that a Roman Catholic Priest had not been present here for nearly two years, thus the structure was used for several other purposes.

Today the St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral is no longer a religious building, but instead has become the National House of Organ and Chamber Music of Ukraine after its restoration in 1979 to 1980.

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