The Armenian Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary in the city of Lviv, Western Ukraine is a historical and architectural monument located in UNESCO World Heritage Old Town of Lviv.. Built in 1363-1370 AD, the Cathedral served as a storage during Soviet times and was passed to the Armenian Apostolic Church only in 2000, shortly before the visit of Pope John Paul II..
The construction of the cathedral began in 1363 AD by an architect Doring and was financed by two Armenian merchants Jacob from Caffa and Panos from Gaitsarats.. It is said that the Cathedral has much in common with the cathedral of the ancient Armenian capital of Ani.. In 1437 the cathedral was surrounded with an Renaissance arcade gallery, today only the southern one is preserved and the northern has been rebuilt into a sacristy..
Until today, there’s no certain information about the name of the architect of the cathedral.. In different sources it’s written in different ways: sometimes close to the Italian – Dore or Dorchi, sometimes reminds of German – Doring.. There is also another version; Abbe K. Kaetanovich in his work “The Cathedral and its surroundings” (Lviv, 1930) argues that the architect of the Armenian Cathedral in Lviv was an Armenian architect, who built this cathedral based on the project of another church in the ancient Armenian capital of Ani, and Doring was merely his assistant.. However, it’s an irrefutable fact that the architect was a good master, who knew the characteristics and traditions of the Armenian religious architecture very well..
After the church was damaged in a city fire in 1527 a new stone belfry was erected in 1571.. In 1630 the main nave was extended, further rebuilt in 1723.. Since 17th century the cathedral belonged to Armenian Catholic eparchy of Lviv, as union with Roman Catholic Church was introduced by bishop Mikołaj (Nicolas) Torosowicz.. During the Soviet times as a result of liquidation of the Lviv Armenian Catholic Archbishopric the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary was closed.. The cathedral was first turned into the repository of the Lviv Art Gallery, and later in 1953 – the repository of the Lviv Museum of Lenin..
In January 2000 the Armenian Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary was returned to the Armenian Apostolic Church, and on January 6, 2001 the first divine service was held.. On May 18, 2003 the Cathedral was consecrated by the Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin the Second.. The head of Lviv regional state administration passed the keys of the church to the Armenian Archbishop Grigoris, then Catholicos Garegin II performed the rite of “opening the doors” and sanctified cathedral..
Today, the Armenian Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary on Armenian street in Lviv is opened for visitors.. And as hundreds of years ago, people come here to light candles, pray and find solace in God..