WHERE IS IT?
The Cathedral Church of St. Michael the Archangel is located across from the Patriarchate of Serbia, near the Residence of Princess Ljubica and the cafe "Znak pitanja", in Kneza Sime Markovića Street. While sailing on the Danube, you can notice this majestic building, which is one of the main symbols of Belgrade.
WHAT DOES A CATHEDRAL CHURCH MEAN ?
The cathedral church is the city's main Christian church, headed by a bishop. There can only be one cathedral church in the city. The Cathedral Church in Belgrade is the main church of Belgrade, and it is located across from the Patriarchate.
The seat of the patriarchate
The Belgrade Cathedral was built between 1837 and 1840 on the location of the old church from 1728. In the 16th century, there was a church dedicated to the same patron - Archangel Michael. According to the plans of Friedrich Querfeld, the works were carried out by Pancevo builders. The church was built in the neoclassical style as a single-nave building with a high bell tower above the west façade and a semicircular apse on the east. Taking over this type of style of religious buildings, which is a characteristic of the architecture of the Karlovac metropolitanate, represented Belgrade looking up to European trends. The church building was built as a monumental building and it is the largest building created during the Principality of Serbia. Its base is in the shape of a rectangle 45m long and 19.6m wide. The construction of the church consists of three parts: the wall narthex, the nave and the altar space. The current facade was restored in the second decade of the 20th century, when part of the roof structure was changed too. At the end of 2003 and the beginning of 2004, mosaics with the image of the patron of the church were placed above the west facade. In front of the main entrance to the church there are the graves of Dositej Obradović and Vuk Karadžić, while the tombs of Princes Miloš and Mihailo Obrenović are located along the walls of the nave.
The interior decoration was completed in 1845, after the temple was consecrated. The inner space is divided into three parts: the narthex (10m long and 19m wide), under which there is a crypt (underground space where sacred things and relics are kept); nave (27m long and 19m wide) which is embellished by the frescoes of the famous painter Dimitrije Avramović. In front of the altar space, there is a splendid iconostasis which is the work of the sculptor Dimtrije Petrović, with icons that are also the work of Dimitrije Avramović. The entire interior is done in the neoclassical style. The church has a rich treasury of old icons, goldsmith's items, old printed books and other items from the 17th and 18th centuries. In the sacral topography of Belgrade, the Cathedral has occupied the most prominent place since it was built. It played a significant role in many historical events. During the 19th century, the anointing of all Serbian rulers was performed in the Cathedral church before they came to the throne, and some of them had their coronations there.
WHO WAS DIMITRIJE AVRAMOVIC?
Serbian Michelangelo's name was Dimitrije Avramović! He was born in 1815 and died in 1855 in Novi Sad. He wrote about art, visited numerous medieval monasteries, and painted brilliantly. His neoclassical-style wall paintings cover the entire space of the church vault. Dimitrije Avramović painted these paintings from 1841-1845 (4 years – same period of time Michelangelo needed to paint Sistine Chapel!). Well, of course our Cathedral church is not exactly like the Sistine Chapel, but Dimitrije showed exceptional skill in large-scale compositions with numerous figures. He painted 22 wall compositions in the oil technique on a well-prepared surface (so he did not end up as Leonardo with The Last Supper). The area of the painted walls is 628 square meters (twice smaller than Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel).
The draft for the iconostasis was made by the famous sculptor Dimitrije Petrović, who performed the works in Vienna. After that, a lot of praiseworthy texts about the appearance of it were published in the Viennese and Pest press. It was adorned with lavish woodcarving decoration with gilding. It is divided into three main parts: lower, middle and upper zones. The vertical division was made with the help of Corinthian pillars. The gilded parts are located on the doors above the frame of the icons, and on the side arches. These icons are the work of the famous neoclassical painter Dimtrije Avramović. He is a well-known portraitist who was close to Vuk Karadzic, who recommended him to Prince Mihailo for doing this job.