Religious route – Legend
The Cathedral of Christ’s Nativity of the Tiraspol-Dubasari Diocese is the centre of the Orthodox life of Transnistria.
The temple was built in 1998-2000 according to the project of Tiraspol architect P.G. Yablonsky, who proceeded from the principles and samples of church architecture in ancient Russia. The cathedral delights the eye with its luxurious spherical domes, stained-glass arched windows and original shape walls: the top of each wall is made in the form of a number of arches of different sizes.
The church in the name of the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church
In 2019, a log house was erected near the Powder Cellar of St. Vladimir Bastion on Fedko Street, next to the place where victims of political repressions were shot and buried in the common grave in the 1930s.
The construction material for this wooden temple was selected in and brought from Western Ukraine, where there are proper tree species growing. It was first assembled there according to the drawings and only then brought in parts to Transdniestria to be reassembled. This church is also called Cossack Church, as it was the military chieftain of the Black Sea Cossack Troops who proposed to make it in this shape.
Church of the Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky
The Church of Alexander Nevsky, built in 1833 in the Byzantine style, is the only active military temple in Transdniestria and one of the oldest religious buildings in Bendery. It survived the revolution of 1917, the period of Romanian and fascist occupation. In the Soviet years, as in other Transdniestrian churches, Orthodox services in it ceased, and the church building was given over to the soldiers ‘ club. In this capacity, it lasted until the mid-1990s.
The Church was reopened on October 12, 2011, after three years of extensive reconstruction. The following year, parts of the relics of Prince Alexander Nevsky were delivered here, and in September 2013, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia visited the Church. He delivered a sermon to the parishioners and presented the image of our lady “The helper of sinners” as a gift to the Church. By the end of the same year, the painting of the walls and dome of the Church was completed.
In 2018, a chapel “In Memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs” was opened near the Alexander Nevsky Church to mark the 100th anniversary of the execution of the Romanov family by the Bolsheviks. It is known that Nicholas II together with his family visited the city of Bendery and prayed in the Church of Alexander Nevsky.
The Cathedral of Transfiguration of Lord
The Transfiguration Cathedral was founded on August 22, 1815 by his grace Demetrios, Bishop of Bendery and Akkerman. In 1827, Dimitri consecrated the Cathedral, but the construction of the temple was delayed – in 1832, the bell tower was completed, and the work itself was completed only in 1840.
The temple remained unpainted until the beginning of the 20th century. Despite the repair work from time to time, internal painting of the Cathedral had an unfinished look. In the early 1930s, Church officials decided to renovate the interior, for which they invited the famous Moldovan artist and sculptor Alexander Mikhailovich Plamadeala. Around May 1934, he arrived in Bendery to begin completing the order with his students: V. Polyakov, V. Nechaev, N. Kolyadich and A. Madval.
Most of the frescoes by A. Plamadeala: “Constantine”, “Elena”, “Sun God”, images of 12 apostles – preserved to this day.
Significant damage to the Cathedral was caused by the Great Patriotic war. The building was hit by a shell, which killed the iconostasis and the Cathedral archive in the fire. As a result, important information about the life of the parish and the city in the pre-war period disappeared forever.
In 1948, the Cathedral was taken under state protection as an architectural monument of the early 19th century.
In recent years, extensive restoration and repair work has been carried out both inside and outside the Church. On September 13, 2015, celebrations were held in Bendery to mark the 200th anniversary of the Cathedral of the Transfiguration.
3. Kitskany Village
The monastery, located in the centre of Kitskany village, is an outstanding monument of Orthodox Church architecture. The temple ensemble consists of four sanctuaries: Holy Ascension Cathedral (summer), Assumption Church (winter), St. Nicholas Temple (seminary), and Holy Cross Church (refectory). In the monastery, there are hotels for pilgrims, a church museum, a printing house, and an icon-painting workshop, as well as a library in which documents, miniatures, and ancient books of the 15-19th centuries are preserved. The highlight of the monastery is a five-tier bell tower 69 meters high, whose top grants a superb panorama to those who venture climbing it up. Its largest bell weighs 8.5 tons.
Lunch at the monastery.
The Cathedral of All Saints is one of the oldest in Pridnestrovie. It was founded on April 25, 1797 with the blessing of Metropolitan Gabriel of Dnieper and Tauride (Banulescu – Bodoni).
Construction work continued until 1804. It is known that the merchant Mikhail Zoyanov and his partner Ivan Shevich funded the construction of the temple. Before the revolution, the temple had a two-class parish school and an orchard. In Soviet times, the temple was closed, and various institutions, warehouses and services were alternately located in its premises. After the war, in 1953, a cycling school was located here.
The temple was reopened in the late 1980s. Enterprises and residents of the town transferred a large amount of money for its restoration, and the townspeople gave many valuable icons and church utensils. In 1998, Bishop Justinian of Tiraspol and Dubasari consecrated the temple’s altar, to which its former name was returned. Today, icons with fragments of the relics of St. Jonah, the Wonderworker of Odessa, and Metropolitan Gabriel are kept here.
In 1802, a new stone church in honour of the Archangel Michael was built in Rybnitsa with donations from parishioners. It was built instead of a dilapidated adobe church of the 17th century. 80 years later, a bell tower was added to the church, and four years later, it was painted inside. In 1896, a new iconostasis and altar were built and painted in the church, but in the early 30s of the 20th century, the church stopped worship.
In November 1990, the foundation stone of the new Archangel Michael Cathedral was laid in Ribnita. The architect P.G. Yablonsky became the author of the project of the revived temple. On November 21, 1991, the first service was held in the lower Church of St. Markell, Hegumen of the monastery of the Unsleeping Ones. However, the construction of the Cathedral was completed only in 2006.
The architecture of the cathedral reflects the best traditions of Russian temple architecture. On the third tier of the bell tower of the church there is a large bell called “Blagovest”. It is surrounded by 10 more bells, the smallest of which weighs 4 kg. The cathedral is an architectural monument and one of the symbols of Rybnitsa.
6. Rashkovo village
The Polish Roman Catholic church of St. Cajetan, the oldest Catholic temple in Pridnestrovie, has practically survived to this day in its original form. The decision to build the church was made in 1749 by Prince Joseph Lubomirsky, as evidenced by the manuscript The Act of Founding a Church in Rashkovo. The edifice had been erected by 1786, and five years later, it was consecrated in honour of St. Cajetan. The construction is a classic sample of Polish Catholic church architecture of the 18th century with baroque elements. In Soviet times, the church was closed and the building was used by local authorities, first as a granary, and then as a carpentry workshop. Only in 1990, it was returned to the Catholic community, and since then services have been held here to the sounds of the organ.
The synagogue was built in Rashkovo around 1749 with funds from the so-called ‘box fee’ – a special type of Jewish community tax. At that time, the village was one of the centres of world Hasidism – a religious movement in Judaism, which in the early 18th century came over the Jewish population of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the adjacent territories. For a long time, the synagogue served as the spiritual hub of the multitudinous Jewish community of Rascov. However, in the early 1930s, during the anti-religious campaign, its dome was destroyed, and by now, only stone walls and some elements of the interior have survived to remind us of the magnificent structure.