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Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral, Varna

The Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral (Катедрален храм “Успение Пресвятия Богородици” or Катедрален храм “Успение Богородично” translit. Katedralen Hram Uspenie Bogorodichno) is the largest church building in Varna and the third largest cathedral in Bulgaria (after St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia and St. Dimitar Cathedral in Vidin). Officially opened on 30 August 1886. It is the residence of the bishopric of Varna and Preslav and one of the symbols of Varna.



The project for the cathedral, modelled after the temple in the Peterhof Palace, was by an Odessan architect by the name of Maas. Construction began immediately after the foundation stone was laid and took six years. Initially, the local government concluded a 6,000-leva contract with the architect, but he soon asked for more resources, so the commission decided to buy his plans but not engage him with the construction. Thus, the foundations were laid after the plan of Maas, whereas the building itself followed the plan of municipal architect P. Kupka.

According to the project, the cathedral is a three-naved cross-domed basilica featuring two aisles and sized of 35 by 35 m, with the main altar being dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos, the north one to Saint Alexander Nevsky and the south one to Saint Nicholas the Miracle Worker.

The issue of selecting a master builder was discussed in the summer of 1880, but the negotiations with Kolyu Ficheto from Tarnovo proved unsuccessful. Local master Vasil Ivanov was given the temporary guidance, the job was however was assigned to Yanko Kostandi after a long search. On 15 March 1884, the commission entrusted Gencho Kanchev from Tryavna with the task. The temple was erected in the following year, the roof was finished in September and the first church service was given on 30 August 1886.



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