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National University

Among the notable memorials of Chernivtsi, a special place is occupied by the architectural ensemble of the former Residence of the orthodox metropolitans of Bukovina and Dalmatia, included into the UNESCO World Heritage list. It was built at the place of the old bishop’s house in 1864-1882. Nowadays here the central buildings of Chernivtsi national university named after Yuri Fedkovych have been placed. This unique architectural ensemble has emerged due to the efforts of the bishop Yevhen Hakman. In 1863 he obtained from the Austrian emperor the right to build a new spacious residence, appropriate for Bukovina capital. Next year, right after the consecration of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, the bishop Hakman had already laid the cornerstone into the foundation of the future residence.

The project of the architectural ensemble was composed by the famous Czech scientist, architect, academician Josef Hlavka. He had projected the non-traditional complex of buildings in the spirit of eclectics with the prevalence of elements of Byzantium and Romanesque styles. This project has more than once won prizes at the famous contests of the architects, and it was, in particular, noted at the World fair in Paris. The composition of the ensemble is quite complicated, but with this it is distinctive with the clarity of planning. It consists of the three monumental buildings: the main one, the ecclesiastical seminary with the church of the Three Hierarchs, and the presbytery.

In the main building (currently the central building V, where the rectorate and the faculty of foreign languages are located) there was situated the seat of the metropolitan with large apartments, where he worked and rested, and with luxurious halls, where he arranged the audiences for high guests and where the eparchial meetings took place. In the corner of the left wing of the building, the home church of the bishop was located – the chapel of Ioan (John) of Suceava, from which namely had started the construction of the whole residence.

Among the rooms of the main building, the Synodical hall impresses with its beauty and magnificence, and is one of the finest in Europe. It was decorated with marble (here is where its current name comes from – the Marble one) and furnished with side galleries of columns, on which the wooden ceiling decorated with ornamentation was based. The impressions of unearthly majesty was strengthened by corridors with marble mosaic on the floor and painted ceilings in the forms of domes. Unfortunately, in 1944 the Synodical hall was damaged by a fire. Not only the interiors were harmed by the fire, but also the synodical library perished, which contained the unique incunabula and archives. The current look of the Marble hall is only a copy, created by the restorers.

However, the fire had mercy for the Hall of the meetings of the Sacred synod (the current Red hall). Its interior was preserved in the initial form. The walls of the Red hall are decorated with Chinese silk, the wooden ceiling is adorned by ornament, and the floor is paved with the parquet of red beech, oak and green linden. On one of the walls the huge Venetian mirrors hang. Created by the old technology, they count as much as five layers of silver.

On the left from the entrance to the residence in the current building VI of the university, the two educational establishments were situated. One of them was ecclesiastical seminary, created in Chernivtsi yet in 1828. It occupied the second floor of the building, and the first one by the initiative of the metropolitan was provided for the needs of the Greek orthodox theological faculty of the freshly opened Chernivtsi University. The seminary building, which resembles a horseshoe, from the three sides surrounds the church of the Three Hierarchs. The first stone into the foundation of the temple was laid by the bishop Yevhen Hakm in April 1867. Its interior has been worked upon by several specialists of the high level. The church was painted by a professor painter from Vienna Karl Jobst. The tempera paintings with biblical stories belong to his hand. Due to the wonderful acoustics, the Chernivtsi admirers of the church singing loved to come to the temple to hear the service, and now they have such opportunity again.

In 1993, after the times of Soviet atheism, the theological department as a part of philosophy and theology faculty of Chernivtsi University was restored, and located on the first floor of the seminary building, and in the church of the Three Hierarchs the church service was restored, which is held by the theology students and their spiritual mentors.

In the building which is on the right of the central entrance (now the building IV of the university, where the geographical faculty is located), the deacon school, the diocese museum and the candle factory were situated. The roof of historical building of the presbytery, as of the whole residence, is covered with ornamental tiles, like Bukovina folk patterns. In the middle of the building above the main entrance the tower with a clock and a dome, which is decorated with the stars of David, is overpeering. In such a way the memory of the monetary aid provided for Bukovina orthodox metropolitanate by the Jewish community of the city, is immortalized. Since the necessary astronomical amount for the construction of the Residence – 1.8 million guldens could not be gathered by the orthodoxies themselves.


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